Tuesday, May 24, 2011

KSL News: Ogden City School District Has the Top Three Worst Performing Schools

Why would the Ogden City School Board agree to extend the tax increment financing that Ogden City receives on Boss Godfrey's pet project when they know that money could be used for more teachers and programs to help fix this problem?

By: What a bunch of garbage

Did anyone see the story on KSL last night about the Ogden City School District having the top three worst performing schools in the entire state when it came to competency testing and 5 of the top 10?
Maybe it's just me, but I have a hard time buying the superintendent of the Ogden City School District's reason for why this is the case. He tries to blame the results on the poverty of the citizens of Ogden City.

If, as the superintendent claims, the reason for the poor performance of these schools is due to the poverty of the residents of Ogden City, why in the hell would the Ogden City School Board agree to extend the tax increment financing that Ogden City receives on Boss Godfrey's pet project when they know that money could be used for more teachers and programs to help fix this problem?

Poverty as the reason? Really? And this coming from the very taxing entity that is giving away hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars to support bullshit projects.

Seems to me the problem lies with the priorities of the school board, not the students and the families.


Jennifer Neil said...

I believe I said something to the same effect a couple years ago, when the council said YES to the 12 year extension of tax increment for the Junk-tion.   WHY take money away from our education when it is already suffering ... then this IDIOT turns around and blames it on the economic status of the city residents?!?



Curmudgeon said...

To be fair, the Supt. was talking about the districts "demographics" [his term], not the "wealth" of the district overall.   He was saying Ogden has [compared to other districts in the state] a hugely disproportionate number of children who live in poverty.  [I don't know the numbers and can't speak to the accuracy of that claim. My comments are based on the presumption that they're accurate.]  It also has a disproportionate number of school children for whom English is not spoken at home as the primary language.  This matters.If you're teaching children to read, or doing your damndest to, and they come from homes in which there are no books beyond the family bible [if that], it's a lot tougher job than if they come from a home with highly literate parents who have books, newspapers, magazine around and read them daily as a matter of course.  And, having volunteered for a time at one of the top three worst performing elementary schools on KSL's list, let me tell you teaching what are called in the trade "at risk" children in large numbers absolutely is more effectively done by having more teachers and smaller class sizes.  Class room volunteers can pick up a little of the load, work one on one, or one on two with children trailing well behind the class for whatever reason.  But only a bit of it.   I'd say from what I've seen that the lower down the demographic ladder a school's population falls [i.e. the greater its percentage of children from "at risk" families], the smaller the class size should be.  One size does not fit all if you're hoping to have effective public schools. Your point about the school district giving up tax revenues to support Hizzonah's serial development pipe dreams and obsessions is a sound one, I think.  But in talking about how "poor" his district is, the superintendent  was referring to the demographics [wealth-wise] of those schools  families collectively considered, not of the district overall.  He and his teachers do have a tougher job because of those demographics. 

Anna said...

I would suggest that there is little in Ogden to compare to the poverty and problems of Harlem in NYC, yet Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Childrens Zone are certainly not letting poverty or anything else prevent their sucess and service to the greater good.  Perhaps we could take lessons. 

Keicha Christiansen said...

Curm makes a good point.  Schools in Ogden City District have some unique challenges due to the demographics of many of the students in the district.  The issue is far more complex than that of just money, or a lack thereof, some of which is due to the extension of the tax increment finanching for the Junction. 
Many schools in Ogden City have Title 1 status, which means a high percentage of their students are considered Economically Disadvantaged based on federal poverty level standards.  In 2009 I listened to an enlightening presentation from an Ogden District adminstrator.  It compared AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) test results in Language Arts, Mathematics and Science for Ogden District students with other Utah school districts and Utah charter schools.   When the results were filtered by removing the scores of students classified as Economically Disadvantaged, Ogden's scores were comparable to other districts.  
It's easy to have a kneejerk reaction to such reports and blame Ogden School District's low test scores on a lack of money, and use it as more ammunition against Mayor Godfrey.  For the record, I'm not a fan of his, and am not defending him.   However, in this instance the issue is far more complicated, and not something that is easily solved by just the addition of more money.  Money, of course, helps by providing more resources for teachers and aides, etc. in the classroom, but that's only part of what is needed for the solution.  Ogden District simply has a very high percentage of ESL, learning and other disabled students, non-Caucasian, and highly mobile (IE: they move and change schools frequently) students.  Because of these demographics and the unique learning challenges they present, the distict will most likely always struggle, and it's a bit myopic and unfair to lay all the blame for their struggles on Mayor Godfrey's poor economic development policies. 

ChadsChill said...

We sent our son to TO Smith for his Kindergarten year. It is far to obvious how underfunded the school and faculty is.  Luckily the new charter school , Good Foundations, opened in Riverdale. The difference is drastic!

Monotreme said...

There are plenty of Title I schools (i.e. those with a large number of children from poor families) in Utah:


The question is, why do Ogden's Title 1 schools underperform relative to those in other parts of Utah?

You can't get a meaningful answer if you don't ask the right question.

Dorrene_Jeske said...

I was a school board member from 1979 to 1983, and Superintendent Garner was giving the same reasons then for Ogden students’ scores being lower than those of other schools in the State that Keicha and Curm mentioned.  After being involved in PTA for 26 years, I would like to add a couple of other reasons for the low performance of a number of Ogden students.  It’s a well-known fact that parent involvement in a child’s education makes a big difference in how well they achieve in school.  It’s difficult for parents who don’t understand and speak the language to be involved and to give their child the help and support they need in school.  Also students from disadvantaged homes do not have the out-of-school educational experiences, such as travel, concerts, theater performances, reading, etc., that students from higher income families have.    
I agree that the School Board's and the District Administration's priorities and direction influence how well the District as a whole performs.  I understand that the Ogden District hires “Certified” teachers now, instead of teachers who have completed all the requirements of a Bachelor Degree, which may have a bearing on student performance, although, I have always contended that a teacher who has rapport with the students and with whom they can relate is a much better teacher than the most educated teacher who can't relate to the students.
·       Monotreme asks a great thought-provoking question:  “The question is, why do Ogden's Title 1 schools underperform relative to those in other parts of Utah?”   
I believe that there are a number of reasons for the low performance scores of some students in the Ogden District.  There are some great students who have exceptional scores and achievements, but they are outnumbered by the students who do not have parents who are actively involved in their education.  Parents do  make a big difference. 

Biker Babe said...

I think you're reading more into his statement than what was said and meant ...


sam said...

The City can try all they want to turn Ogden around by high adventure and other economic development schemes, but until the problems in the schools are recognized, addressed, and fixed the City will not see much improvement.  People want to move near good schools.  To me, this is Ogden's #1 issue - and I don't think enough attention has been focused on it. 

Curmudgeon said...

Not sure it's the number one issue, but it's in the top three for sure.    And a poorly ranked school system hurts economic development and makes it more difficult to attract employers.  I know of one small city [not in Utah] that thought it had a small but growing hi-tech firm locked up to move to the city.  Land identified, sale would not be a problem at a good price, local tax incentives, local transportation options very good, etc.  And at the last minute, the company  cancelled.  City administration asked why and got told in no uncertain terms. Company owner said his key people had researched the city's public schools on line.  [This was Louisiana. The results were not encouraging.] And several told him flat out they would not move their families to that city because of the schools. And without his key people, the company owner told the city, he didn't  have a company  and so he was going  elsewhere instead.Schools matter. A lot.   We can quibble about whether Ogden's schools reputation/rankings are deserved or not; we can quibble about the meaningfulness of standardized testing on which such rankings are usually based. The bottom line is, people thinking of moving here [to bring companies, or to take jobs here] research the schools on line, and if the results are not good, and the people thinking of moving here have options as to where  to work and bring their families, they are likely not to come.

Danny said...

"Low income" is code for 
"minority".  Monotreme smoked that out with his question about
other Title 1 schools. 

And the fact is, minorities score lower than whites, in general.  That's
because minorities are not as smart as whites, IN GENERAL.  Save me the
examples of the smart Mexican or the black valedictorian you knew.  It's
been proven beyond doubt, accept it or not.

Look at Detroit and other cities that have spent a fortune on trying to make
scholars out of blacks.  You can’t do
it.  You can mentor them to a life of
decency rather than crime, but you can’t make ‘em smart.  It’s the genes that do that.

We all know it.  It’s
been proven with thousands of data points. 
As often is the case, I have to be the one who says it.  That’s why Ogden scores low.  It’s the minority population.  You can’t correlate to money or anything else.  But you can correlate to Mexican and black
populations, and you can correlate those races to low IQ.

As far as the tax increment, the school district went along because Godfrey
bought their vote with some real estate, like the corrupt little SOB’s MO
always is.

One With All said...


What a pile of racist crap.  There are many varieties of  intelligence and current testing does not test it.  I have met many people black, brown red and yellow who can out think almost anyone in Utah and they are smart enough not to think their race is superior to everyone else. 

Disgusted said...

Danny,Your latest thoughts on the intellect of minorities is the most uneducated comment that I think you have ever made and is obviously based on your personal bigotry as opposed to facts.If minorities in this city are failing I have to assume that it is their parents’ lack of involvement and the system that is letting then down.

OSD Administration Sucks said...

Ogden's biggest problem is the administration.  You have a principal like the former one at OHS, not performing and you move her to an elementary.  Now that elementary is the lowest scoring in the state with the highest paid principal (look at Utah's Right to Know).  You have a school like Mount Ogden that is running great and you put a dishonest principal there who has a side business with Bruce Penland, who is over secondary education, Kate Bideux, who is the district grant writer, and his best friend, Luis Lopez.  You have a school like T.O. Smith that has been great for years with a wonderful faculty and you put a bull headed principal there who is a bully and runs out great staff and then the board finally does something about her three years later.  Don't worry, she wasn't fired, just moved to another elementary to ruin it.  As you can see, the administrators are the problem!

Interesting said...

I'd like to see some discussion on this post.  Too bad it wasn't posted earlier.

Mistaalex323 said...

Considering that in the last few years, the only real changes I've seen (at least in the high schools) were new digital marquees (seriously?), and brand new gymnasiums.... The focus is COMPLETELY off of education and rather focused on the "aesthetics" and "athletics." I know kids who came out of the Ogden school systems with 4.0 gpa but did not receive one scholarship... I think everyone knows we suck...

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