The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice of the Capital Region
Advertisement
Promotions

The problem with education in Schenectady is poverty

  • FACEBOOK
  • TWITTER
  • GOOGLE+
  • LINKEDIN
  • PRINT
  • E-MAIL
Text Size: A | A

Listening to Schenectady parents speak passionately about their children’s education is uplifting, even if the problems the city school district faces today are much deeper than the argument over which model of education, K-5 or K-8, works best. Ironically, no one seems able to substantiate which model is superior to the other. This makes the ongoing dispute between parents and the school board somewhat moot, albeit still an important discussion. The fact is, the school ...


You Must Log-In or Subscribe to Continue Subscription Offer Individual stories can be found and purchased from our Archives for $2.00

Advertisement

comments

gina99
August 5, 2013
7:31 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Great letter but the only solution from them is increasing the tax burden creating more poverty.

albright1
August 5, 2013
12:46 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

The author shows correlation between poverty and school failure rates but makes no case for causation. The same factors that lead a person down the path to end up with incomes at poverty level are the same that contribute to school failure. At this time in the US, the single biggest contribution to both poverty and school failure is the existence of high rates of single parent households.

RobertCaracciolo
August 5, 2013
2:25 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Albright1, you make a valid point. I purposefully left out causation, because it is a highly debated subject that is deep, cyclical and exists as both an existential and empirical problem. There is no doubt that I could speak at length about it for quite some time, but I would have done a disservice to everyone if I were to attempt to squeeze it into my editorial.
While the causation conversation is of course important, the premise of my article was not to discuss the cause(s) behind poverty and how it affects everything from employment, to education, to quality of life. If my article were to spur such a debate, then at least my writing has accomplished something.
Ultimately, because there is a word limit enforced and my topics are meant to be more localized in nature; I felt it necessary to stick to Schenectady, its education problems and causes, and what can be done locally to resuscitate our schools.
Correction: In my editorial I mentioned that Linton and Schenectady High merged in 1992. That was a typo. Linton merged with Mont Pleasant to form Schenectady High. The building that housed Mont Pleasant High was converted to Mont Pleasant Middle School.

albright1
August 6, 2013
6:28 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Robert, here is a correlation you can use in your future deliberations. Albany has a single parent household rate of 54.9% (graduation rate 49.2) and Schenectady has a single parent household rate of 49.5% (graduation rate of 58.9). This is also a strong correlation.

hodgkins.t
August 6, 2013
11:11 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

James Heckman notes that poverty is merely an indictor for quality family life, and family life is a determinant for school readiness. If ones mother is working 2 jobs, then she will not be home to read to her child, and the child will not enter school as prepared for learning as kids from homes that support learning. Poverty also causes stress for parents and children and this inhibits physiological development in children and leads to poor health outcomes for adults. Rob, perhaps if people that espouse the philosophy "those are not our children" did not receive the most votes in school board elections, I would agree with you that Schenectady cares about its kids. Schenectady officials -city-county and school- are more focused on maintaining social stratification, through welfare checks to the 1%, and ignoring proven solutions that benefit poor kids than creating a vibrant and just society.

RobertCaracciolo
August 7, 2013
1:15 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I don’t believe it is the goal of Schenectady’s public officials to suppress the poor in order to maintain the city’s current social stratification. I think that is an unjust accusation, but I agree that it takes a certain mindset and understanding to develop the right solutions for the city and its residents. One could argue that some public officials are simply not focusing enough on the “real issues” or they are completely ignorant of them, which is malfeasance. But there is no doubt that much more can be done to improve deteriorating neighborhoods and provide beneficial support for needy parents and children in order to make the community more cohesive. Far too much attention is paid to commercial development, particularly in the downtown area, which is why residential neighborhoods continue to suffer. The data and information is at our finger tips. Public officials and community leaders just need to be willing and able to uniformly tackle the systemic problems that face Schenectady.

Advertisement