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One on One Attention Pays Dividends In Class
Education advocates say low-income schools should get more funding than affluent schools to help children from impoverished homes overcome daunting challenges in everyday life.
Hardly anyone publicly disagrees with this notion, but weighted funding has been a hard sell in Delaware's 148th General Assembly – because in tight budget times new money can not be found without taking funding from schools with fewer at-risk children.
Much of the education debate in Delaware has been centered on stiffening teacher evaluations, reducing the number of standardized tests and the growth of charters. Advocates say the state should first do what it can to help students who don't have enough food or clothes, lack a stable home, or are dealing with violence right outside their front doors.
"We have been so focused on academics, almost to the exclusion of everything else," said Jim Purcell, state director for the nonprofit Communities in Schools, which places case workers in high-poverty schools. "We've said that if we change the curriculum, or we change the principal, or we change the teachers, that will change the school. But that's not a panacea. There are no panaceas. Academics are very, very important, but if we don't deal with the social and emotional needs of students, academics alone aren't enough."