"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lead and Learning: Detroit Public Schools

Does the current school reform agenda in Detroit (and the nation, for that matter) address any of the concerns raised in this article? I think not - it's just privatization, merit-pay for teachers, and firing lots of 'em (except for the newly-minted TFAers and their ilk). From the Detroit Free Press:

High lead levels hurt learning for DPS kids

More than half of students tested have poisoning history


More than half of the students tested in Detroit Public Schools have a history of lead poisoning, which affects brain function for life, according to data compiled by city health and education officials.

The data also show, for the first time in Detroit, a link between higher lead levels and poor academic performance. About 60% of DPS students who performed below their grade level on 2008 standardized tests had elevated lead levels.

The higher the lead levels, the lower the MEAP scores, though other factors also may play a role.

The research -- the result of an unusual collaboration between the city's Department of Health & Wellness Promotion and DPS -- also reveals that children receiving special education were more likely to have lead poisoning.

The data, involving tens of thousands of city children, underscore the persistent and troubling legacy of lead, even as the overall number of lead cases continues to fall in Detroit and across the nation.


Despite significant declines in Detroit, thousands of children continue to be diagnosed with lead poisoning each year, a by-product of older homes with lead-based paint, pervasive poverty and an often unhealthy diet.

Continued here. I can just hear David Berliner pulling his hair out and exclaiming, "I've been saying this for DECADES!"

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