Friday, August 27, 2010

The great educational-income divide

Posted By on Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 3:23 PM

For anyone who doubts that Spokane contains some pretty sweeping income disparities, check this out. 

Moran Prairie, way up on the southeast South Hill, has 9.6percent of its students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch.Only children that come from families with low-incomes qualify. Afamily of four that makes less than $28,665 a year, for example, qualifies for free lunch ($40,793 for reduced lunch.)

Holmes Elementary, in the West Central neighborhood, meanwhile, has 90.9 percent of its students eligible for free or reduced lunch. 

Sowhat are the actual differences between the richest school in theSpokane School District, and the poorest school in the Spokane SchoolDistrict? 

The unexcused absence rate at Holmes is five times higher the rate at Moran Prairie. 

In May, Moran Prairie had 123 more students than Holmes, but25 fewer special education students. Holmes is made up 61.5 percent white students.Moran Prairie? 88.5 percent.

Two-thirds of the teachers at Holmes have at least a master’s degree, whileabout three-fourths of the teachers at Moran Prairie do. (Yet, in bothschools, 100 percent of the teachers meet the “Highly Qualified” NoChild Left Behind definition.)

And then we come to the scores for the WASL, one of the tests most affected byincome level. In 2009, 95.5 percent of the fourth-graders at MoranPrairie passed the Reading WASL, 78.8 passed the Math  WASL, and 86.4percent passed the writing WASL. At Holmes, meanwhile only 71.2 percent of the fourth-graders passed their Reading WASL test, 35.6 passed their WASL Math test, and only 12.1 percent passed the Writing WASL. That's a pretty dramatic disparity.

(All data is from May of 2009, the most recent date available.The WASL, of course, has been replaced by a new series of tests.)

Want to check out the stats for the school in your neighborhood? Click here,then click on the tab that says "Holmes Elementary" and switch to theelementary, middle, or high school in your neighborhood.

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