Originally Posted by Linda on the move
What is the class size at your school compared to the class size at the non- title 1 school you are considering?
Do they have the same number of hours per week in "extras" such as art, music, pe, library, computer?
That's one of the things that frustrates me -- the state has changed the Title 1 rules. Two years ago, our class sizes were smaller. But the state has passed some sort of rule that says unless you can get class sizes under 18 for the entire grade, you can't use Title 1 funds to lower class sizes. So, the rich school that a lot of the kids in the neighborhood transfer has classes the same size, or sometimes smaller. In fact, this year, dd's 1st grade class has 25, and the other school has 19. It's a bit of a demographic issue - there are 102 1st graders at our school, and 38 at theirs. They couldn't have a class of 38, so they got divided into 2 classes of 19. Ours got divided into 4 classes of ~25. At one point dd had 27, but 2 kids moved.
We have the same number of hours per week of music, pe, library and computer. Art is parent-volunteer run and our kids have considerably less. The kids at the richer school get 1-2 hours a month. Our kids are lucky to get 3-4 lessons a year. We don't have as much science. They have foreign language, we don't.
The tutors can make a huge difference. In most schools, kids cannot get extra help unless that have a diagnoses of an LD, a cognitive impairment, etc. If the child doesn't have anything "wrong" with them, they are just left lost in their regular classroom. Not only is that NOT helpful to that child, it lowers what the whole class can do. When students can get extra help -- just because they need it -- it helps not only that child but what the teacher can do with the class as a whole. The tutors at our school were professionals with training in teaching reading -- not just mommies who showed up.
(I don't have anything against mommies, but I think that helping kids "get it" when "it" doesn't make sense to them is a real skill. there is a lot more to really teaching than just being willing to show up)
I agree that I'd much rather have someone trained to teach (I train teachers for a living and I know how little most people know about how to teach). The problem I struggle with is that there's such a focus on the low end kids that sometimes my kids get lost in the shuffle. Ds actually lost ground in math in 2nd grade. He's largely made that ground up again, but only because he has a stellar teacher. This year, thanks to some creative budgeting by the former principal, my kids are getting pull-out enrichment for reading and math. Next year that money is going away (new principal who's not as willing to be creative, new rules from the state, less money all around).
How can you know that other schools have better parental enrichment?
Dd's best friend (from church) lives in the other school's area and goes there; 90% of ds' baseball team goes to the other school. So, you hear other parents talking. It's hard not to get jealous when the 4th grade at the other school goes and spends a night at a camp in the woods as part of their Lewis and Clark unit and my kids are just reading about it in a book.
We're not going to change schools next year. I have no idea what's going to happen with the budget shake up. Next year will be ds' last year there before middle school, and since he's not the most socially adept kid, I won't move him. I'm more worried about dd, who's in first grade. She's much more academically inclined than ds (he's bright, but not as driven, and may have some mild visual-spatial issues for learning). Dd needs skilled teachers, but she also needs other kids who are working at her level (she's reading at a 5th grade level in 1st grade).
At least dd did come home this week and said "E is teaching me to count to 10 in Tagalog!"