How Policy Makers can Learn from One of the Poorest Schools in America

By Jericho Miller, Parent Herald July 04, 05:10 am

There is definitely a lot of room for improvement in the current educational system, even if the questionable "No Child Left Behind Policy" has officially been replaced by the new "Every Student Succeeds Act" as well as the "K-12 Act". There has been a lot of talk about the steps that should be taken in order to improve schooling. However, one education expert believes that the key to successful change lies in one of the most impoverished schools in all of Ohio.

Elaine Weiss is the national coordinator of the Broader Bolder Approach to Education project, which aims to help decrease the problems brought about by poverty in many schools. It hopes to accomplish this through the use of what are known as academic "accountability" systems.

According to a report from the Washington Post, Weiss is a strong believer in the message that the documentary "Oyler: One School, One Year" is trying to send to its viewers. Marketplace reporter Amy Scott produced the one hour-long film that puts focus on the economic disadvantage present in the school and the disadvantaged neighborhoods near it. It is told through Principal Craig Hockenberry and high school senior Raven Gibbins.

Weiss said that there are two things educational policy makes can learn from this film. First is that the problems surrounding schools spread to its students, teachers, and other personnel, and that the scope of these problems include social, emotional, and academic issues. What Oyler does is at the "cutting edge" and is very effective, which means that it could solve many of the educational sectors problems if successfully adopted and implemented.

The second problem is that policy makers need to realize that poverty definitely puts many students at a disadvantage. A lot of smart students perform well if they forego their academics to support their family or if they see that studying as hard as they can, still cannot provide an escape from their harsh reality. Hopefully, these problems can be addressed as soon as possible.

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