ERIC Number: EJ940592
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
The Latino Experience in Central Falls
Holland, William R.
School Administrator, v68 n5 p22-27 May 2011
Central Falls is, by far, the poorest community in Rhode Island. More than 40 percent of the children under 18 live in poverty, and 40 percent of that group live in severe poverty. At Central Falls High School, low-income Latino students have fallen behind their white counterparts, with shockingly low graduation, poor literacy, and low college-preparedness rates. Rhode Island Kids Count reported a graduation rate for Central Falls of 47 percent in 2009 compared to a statewide average of 75 percent. School cultures vary greatly, and, according to this author, it is senseless and unfair to conclude that one factor is at the heart of this school's failure. Individual schools are broken for different reasons; to turn them around calls for strategies that depend on the local circumstances. Multiple factors are at play and have to be addressed simultaneously. One-size-fits-all solutions are not the answer. Because of the complexity of analyzing factors that contribute to low student achievement at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island, the author found it best to classify them under three overriding obstacles--(1) poverty; (2) cultural differences; and (3) the quality of teaching and leadership. The author contends that teachers, principals, superintendents, board members, students, and parents are part of the problem and must be part of the solution. They must be open to change, questioning the status quo and doing what it takes for students to learn. The union leadership needs to engage in a spirit of cooperation and not retrenchment, especially in a persistently underperforming school.
Descriptors: Cultural Differences, Unions, Leadership Responsibility, Poverty, Hispanic American Students, Disadvantaged Youth, High School Students, Low Income Groups, Low Achievement, College Preparation, Graduation Rate, School Culture, Educational Quality, Teacher Competencies, Administrator Role, Change Strategies, Cooperative Planning
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A