Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Long Term Poverty Improvement for a Given Population Through After School Care Programs

I came across this on one of the list web pages that was about "surprising things that foreigners discovered about the USA."
"11/30. Chicago's Murder rate exceeds the entirety of Canada. Currently, Chicago is at 554 gun deaths this year. Canada is at 516.
Up here in America's Hat, the media is reporting 2016 to be the year of the gun because, at 516, this is the most violent year on record.
I would also like to point out that the population of Chicago is about 2.7 Million. The Population of Canada is about 35 Million."
How about a title change, "Surprising things YOU didn't know about your USA"?
Additionally, I was listening to NPR the other day, and they were discussing the murder rate in Baltimore, MD. They currently had 350+ with New York City at 150+. Baltimore has roughly 600,000 people and New York City has roughly 8,500,000 people.

How do you solve this problem?

Without really getting down to some up-to-date nitty gritty....in 2013 New York City had a 21 percent poverty rate, Chicago 14 percent, and Baltimore was at 24% overall.
Maybe you are saying something along the lines that there are a bunch of cities surrounding Baltimore that makes up Baltimore that is composed of mostly white and/or upper-class people. Fortunately, I don't have to look this stuff up and a news station out of Baltimore compared it to other cities that I would point out are also larger metropolitan areas. http://www.wbaltv.com/news/race-education-income-poverty-how-does-baltimore-compare/39219898
Aside from "Race" (populations in similar situations of any "race" would have the same problems, see Glasgow: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glasgow_effect), the two biggest differences were a roughly 5% higher rate of poverty, 5% lower rate of high school education, and $5,000-$10,000 lower median income rate.

Do we work to bring those levels up or do we mix populations up so as to bring the average up?



Now, I will point out that I am just as guilty as anyone else about school choice. I am looking to move into an area where the schools are top notch and affluent.
This means that people who care much less than I are NOT going to go for integration. What do you do? How do you meaningfully improve a population? I think it has to start with education. Improved education leads to improved job opportunities, which in turn leads to higher median incomes for the population.
Now the trick is, how to keep kids in school? It is shown that integrated schooling has an improving effect. What is it about these schools?
(I need to find a better district to use as an example) Let's look at Lackland ISD, where my kids attend due to my residence on base and recently became #3 in the San Antonio metropolitan are for elementary schools. This is an integrated school. Instead of taxes, the DoD pays for operations, so that means better than the schools around it and likely has some sort of average comparison to surrounding schools for evaluating funding. The backgrounds of the parents are likely quite similar socio-economic wise to some of the poor performing schools in the local areas. After school, though, some kids go home with their parents who stay at home (military families are heavily single income) or they go to an after-school care program that exists on the same block as the school and operates seemingly hand-in-hand with the school (drop off and pickup by the staff from the program for morning/afternoon).
The program serves ages K-12, offers intramural sports, extracurriculars (such as piano, violin, karate, leadership clubs, STEM, homework assistance, or just free play), and a variety of interest-based clubs for teens.
This is an environment with either high parent involvement (stay at home parents or parents with simpler schedules) or an active community program for those parents who need some extra help.
Now my little community is definitely not a "normal" one, I realize that, but there are some traits that would not lead to the stability we have without that afterschool program.

Would a low-cost or free afterschool care program improve the quality of life in these neighborhoods or cities?

In this last document, there is a stat from one program that states that the rate of high school graduation for students who attended at least 1 day of the after school program for each year of high school was 90% vs 86% for those who had not. THAT is the near 5% difference I wrote about earlier.
You can say that parents need to be involved or something or another about parents being responsible. The fact of the matter is that you can't depend on them to make those improvements. What we can do, is work to improve those kids daily lives so that they become dependable adults with HOPE and DREAMS for a positive, productive future. If you have HOPE and DREAMS, then you are MOTIVATED to be better. If half your day you live in an environment of despair and hopelessness, you won't have hope or dreams. You won't see yourself fulfilling those dreams. You won't be motivated because you see generations of people who are seemingly stuck where they are.

Now the question is, how do YOU improve the after-school care programs in YOUR city? 

Do me a favor, share this. Share it with everyone you know. It is still early in the school year. It won't be enough for this semester, but maybe the spring semester can see a huge benefit and it can carry through the summer break (a crucial time with probably little to no positive adult influence!)

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