Several astute observers recently noticed things had gotten better for Delaware’s kids.  Surprisingly better.  Poverty rates across the board had dropped on all schools data.. Schools that were over 96% low income last year, were in the seventies this year… Amazing right?  Too good to be true?  Despite that such results did not correlate with what we see with our own eyes?

Kilroy pointed it out here and noticed there were two corresponding sets of data.  The low on the outside page, but on the page breaking down all the details, was a higher number often in line with that high one of the previous year…..

An astute reader noticed upon clicking the link “Info”, this message:

Other Student Characteristics
School Year 2013 – 2014 and beyond: Low income is determined by students who receive any one of the following benefits: TANF, SNAP (Direct Certification).

2011 – 2013: Low income is determined by students who receive any one of the following benefits: TANF, SNAP, Medicaid or free or reduced lunch.

Prior to the 2011 School Year Low income was determined by students who received a free or reduced lunch.

So it appears the rules have changed…  In numbers it translates to this.  The designation is now dropping from 185% of poverty in the years previous, a level under which a student can qualify for reduced lunch, down to 130% which is on par with the level one needs to acquire TANF and SNAP benefits….  The past years and the detail for this past school year, still show the levels set at 185%.  The front copy switches, and shows the levels at 130%…..

Here is the difference listed by the Federal Government for 2014-2015..

poverty change up Click for larger view

Last year those listed as low income in a family of 4, could be counted as low income if their parents earned under $44,000 per year. This school year (past), low income for a family of 4 now starts below $31,000….. a difference of $13,000….

This is a change  only in classification and nomenclature… It should be always remembered as these numbers get thrown about, that no incomes for these people changed. No one rose above where they were before. They are still poor as ever and those not listed as low income, will still be getting reduced lunch, if not free.

The only thing that changed, is that when the Delaware Department of Education lists their schools, it will list a lower percentage under low income than itdid before…. Just like Common Core, nothing changes:  except the line over which one must pass or fail, is drawn at a different level….

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In terms of numbers it breaks down like this….

WARNER

Percentage under $31,005 130% poverty;  85%   Percent between 130% and 185%:  8.4%.  Total under 185%:  93.4% or leaving just 6.6% above $44,123 for family of 4.

HIGHLANDS ELEMENTARY

Percentage under $31,005, 130% poverty;  68%   Percent between 130% and 185%:  18.4%.  Total under 185%: 86.4% or leaving just 13.6% above $44,123 for family of 4.

SHORTLIDGE ELEMENTARY

Percentage under $31,005, 130% poverty; 85%   Percent between 130% and 185%:  8.3%.  Total under 185%: 93.3% or leaving just 6.7% above $44,123 for family of 4.

BANCROFT

Percentage under $31,005, 130% poverty; 79%   Percent between 130% and 185%:  7.6%.  Total under 185%: 86.6% or leaving just 13.4% above $44,123 for family of 4.

STUBBS

Percentage under $31,005, 130% poverty; 89%   Percent between 130% and 185%:  7.6%.  Total under 185%: 96.6% or leaving just 3.4% above $44,123 for family of 4.

BAYARD MIDDLE

Percentage under $31,005, 130% poverty; 79%   Percent between 130% and 185%:  16.0%.  Total under 185%: 95.0% or leaving just 5.0% above $44,123 for family of 4.

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Compared to other low income schools…

East $ide Charter $chool.

Percentage under $31,005, 130% poverty; 84.1%   Percent between 130% and 185%:  6.5%.  Total under 185%: 90.6% or leaving 9.4% above $44,123 for family of 4.

Kuumba

Percentage under $31,005, 130% poverty; 63.1%   Percent between 130% and 185%:  22.1%.  Total under 185%: 85.2% or leaving 14.8% above $44,123 for family of 4.

Moyer

Percentage under $31,005, 130% poverty; 78.4%   Percent between 130% and 185%:  11.9%.  Total under 185%: 90.3% or leaving 9.7% above $44,123 for family of 4.

Reach

Percentage under $31,005, 130% poverty; 59.0%   Percent between 130% and 185%:  25.4%.  Total under 185%: 84.4% or leaving 15.6% above $44,123 for family of 4.

Newark Charter $chool

Percentage under $31,005, 130% poverty; 8.4%   Percent between 130% and 185%:  9.3%.  Total under 185%: 17.7% or leaving 82.3% above $44,123 for family of 4.

Wilmington Charter $chool

Percentage under $31,005, 130% poverty; 2.4%   Percent between 130% and 185%:  3.3%.  Total under 185%: 5.7% or leaving 94.3% above $44,123 for family of 4.

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Obviously what is missing is the most critical data.  The number of students in each layer of income in each school…  If every family of four in a school was making $31,000 they would still be listed as low income, but no one would expect their Smarter Balance scores to match the lower levels a school having families under $10,000 per year yet also listing them as low income.

And this is the data we really need for comparison.   How many of these public school students come from families with incomes below $10,000; with incomes below $15,000; with incomes below $20,000; with incomes below $25,000?  All know that the ability to learn is a direct correspondence to one’s poverty level.  So if most of these kids are at the low end, expecting results someone gets at the high end, is unrealistic. It goes against simple math.

From this data alone it is quite obvious that Markell’s and Murphy’s charter takeover of public schools will not change the educational future of those students.  Studied results in other cities that have tried “charterization”, all show such to deflate over-all test scores far more than maintaining the current status quo….

Now if the similar effort was made to charter out families and put these children into new households with higher incomes (over $44,000 per family of 4) , then perhaps THAT money spent would not be wasted as will this measly $250,000 per year which each of the 6 schools is expected to get…..

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