Jose Pedraza is a gangly teen with a frizzy cloud of dusty brown hair. His soft voice slows as he describes what the initial months of his family’s recent financial crisis were like for him. “At first I guess it was shocking,” he explains to Colorines’ Julianne Hing. “But then at school it was always in my head, that got in the way of me doing my work.” All he could think about was what his dad’s unemployment would mean for the family. His parents had lived in California for nearly 20 years after immigrating from Mexico. “Like, oh, are we going to have to move back to Mexico? Or what’s going to happen?” It wasn’t long before his grades plummeted and his academic future was in question.
Jose’s experience is not uncommon: With recession gripping black and Latino neighborhoods, researchers and educators believe long-standing educational disparities may be getting worse, not better. Yet, from the White House to pop culture, the increasingly heated debate over school reform has paid little attention to the hard realities families and teachers face. Rather, the latest fad is simplicity: Ignore complexities like race and poverty and focus on teacher accountability. Hing visited with families, students and educators in Los Angeles, one of the front lines in the school reform wars, to find out how they are navigating these perilous times.
FIXING PUBLIC EDUCATION INSIDE A BROKEN ECONOMY
Julianne Hing spent the school year visiting with students, families and educators in Los Angeles. She found them navigating a reality that bore little resemblance to the simple solutions so hotly debated today.
Reporter Julianne Hing describes how one family comes together to get the best education for their son.
Dealing with skyrocketing poverty, hunger and homelessness may now be among the unavoidable demands of education our kids.