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How can motivated economically disadvantaged students in under performing school systems compete with students in wealthy schools?

Wealth is one of the main determents of a child's successes in school. Students in under preforming school systems are often unable to compete with students from richer systems. Even in the same school, the richer students, on average, do better. How can students who either come from an underperforming school system or a poor family compete with upperclass students for slots in highly competitive universities?

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    Mar 30 2013: If school districts earmarked the same amount of funds per each student in the district, there would be no such thing as "poor schools" and "wealthy schools." This is how it's done in some European schools, but American school systems, and the teachers unions, have been rabidly fighting this concept for decades.
    • Mar 30 2013: Most states, by law, require a set dollar amount set aside per student in each district regardless of poor or wealthy schools. The money allotted by the state is most often not the issue. The money provided by levy funds though can be significant and impacting.

      On a side note, teachers unions get blamed for a lot of things. School districts direct the money for the schools. Teachers unions have no control over where that money goes ultimately.

      What is more impacting is that "really good" teachers don't want to teach in those schools. Why? They are hard on you. If your life is threatened, if the kids are barely surviving, if their real life threats are such that school is one of the only safe places in their lives, education doesn't happen easily. And, thanks to our legal system, kids can not be tracked into high and low performing groups based on ability.

      The school that will be successful is the one that has an administrator that demands high expectations of students and parents and teachers. One that sets the bar high for performance. The school would hire, and support, top notch teachers and give them the tools to teach with. The students would be set to a high expectation and those that don't meet it, go into another program or somewhere else. The school would be a safe place to learn. These programs have existed but they require a special kind of administrator that is hard to find, teachers that are willing to work hard, and a district that is willing to pony up the money to support them. It can happen, but all parties need to work together.

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