While the assumption may be that impoverished students don’t receive a quality education, one Texas educator says high poverty, high-performing schools can and do exist. Jean Desravines, CEO of New Leaders, an organization that develops outstanding education leaders, says in a guest-written article that 60 percent of the state’s students come from low-income families. “Among all state institutions, Texas public schools hold the greatest potential to serve as engines of social mobility for these children, propelling them on a trajectory of success. Unfortunately, too few schools are living up to this promise.”
Desravines’ piece reinforces the case made in another recent, complementary article, written by Dr. Stephen Klineberg, who revealed how demographic shifts are redefining the social and political agenda in Texas’ public schools. Klineberg argues it is imperative that education and income gaps be bridged in order to fully capitalize on the advantages of having a young, multicultural, and multilingual workforce capable of competing on a global scale.
Desravines says high poverty schools that are beating the odds share key characteristics. And he introduces us to one Texas school showing impressive gains despite the fact that 90 percent of the students are low-income.
There is a growing body of research that demonstrates family, school, and community partnerships can have systemic and sustained effects on learning outcomes, even in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Everyone in education says they put students’ interests first. But not everyone asks students what they think, what theyneed, and what they want.
Gary Henry, principal of Valley Oaks Elementary School in Spring Branch ISD, did just that when he involved students – his customers – in a key part of re-constructing their school: designing the playground.