Poverty: The state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor. Deficiency of necessary or desirable ingredients, qualities. Scantiness; insufficiency.
When teaching dictionary skills it is necessary to understand the context in which a word is being used in order to discern which definition best conveys the meaning of the user. There is no doubt that poverty plays a crucial role in education, however the defined meaning of that poverty is certainly questionable.
In looking at the first definition, it can be said, quite accurately, that there is an economic disparity between the money spent to educate poor urban youth than their suburban counterparts. In fact, more money is spent on educating poor urban youth.
For the 2011-2012 school year, $58 Billion dollars was spent to educate 3,090,000 elementary and secondary education, K-12, in New York State. Averaged out, that is approximately $19,000 per student.
In the Rochester City School District average spending per pupil is approximately $10,000 per pupil. However, since 51% of our population is failing, special programs for these failing students must be implemented. The All City High “program” adds $10,000 per pupil to the $10,000 already being spent bringing the total cost per pupil for those students to $20,000, $1,000 higher than the average.
According to the NYSED report card, Rochester spends approximately $4,400 more than its “big five” counterparts on its Special Education population and approximately $1,000 more than the average of any other district in the state.
With nearly 18% of our students having Special Education classifications, another 11% ELL, and another unknown percentage receiving services without classification status, the RCSD receives and spends more than its fair share to fail to educate our children.
Yes, equity in spending is crucial in providing the education services our children deserve however, the way we are spending the educational dollars we receive is ineffective and inefficient. We fail our children so we can claim more money only to fail our children to claim we need more money.
Before we receive more money we must be held accountable for the money we already receive.
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