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Title:High stakes: Time, poverty, testing, and the children of the working poor
Author:Chin, M. M., & Newman, K. S.
Resource Type:Report
New york, NY: Foundation for Child Development
ERIC #:ED466304 (click to view this publication's record on the ERIC Web site)
Full text:
Education Level:Elementary
Literature type:Conceptual and Theoretical

Resources available or lacking at home, particularly in terms of parental inputs, continue to exert a significant influence over performance in school. This paper traces the ways that connection may be tightening under the policies of welfare reform and high stakes testing. Researchers found that the stakes are very high for children in working poor families: if they fall behind, their entire school careers may be jeopardized. As a result of cross-pressures of welfare reform and highstakes testing, a number of policy responses emerged such as the addition of resources for summer school remediation in early grades. Policies were needed to transform existing afterschool programs from Òday careÓ to educational remediation and enrichment. While most of the programs in New York City are free and have a homework component, they are not designed for educational remediation. Some schools provided remediation programs that significantly benefited childrenÕs reading skills, but significantly strained the CityÕs budget, leaving many districts unable to afford these Òextras.Ó The paper drew on ethnographic data from a six-year study of working poor families in New York City during the time in which welfare reform became a reality. A survey of 900 families Ð one-third Dominican, one-third Puerto Rican, and one-third African American - followed by ethnographic interviews with 100 of these subjects three times over a six-year period from 1995-2001, formed the data set. Researchers conclude it seems imperative for policy makers and practitioners to Òramp upÓ the educational efforts through these programs. In addition, universal access to Prekindergarten programs with increased standards is essential. Workplace policies also are needed that enable low income families more time together. ÒEmployers need to develop policies that allow parents some kind of flexibility to meet situations that arise during work hours.Ó The small sample, studied at close range over a long period of time, adds value to the studyÕs methodology.

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