According to a study led by John Rogers of UCLA, poverty-related challenges steal time away from high school class periods at low income schools.
As a result, students receive an average of 30 minutes less instruction per day than peers with higher incomes.
“We often think time is a common factor across all schools, we’re all starting with the same amount of sand in the hour glass,” said Nicole Mirra, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California Los Angeles’s graduate school of education who worked on the study and presented the results at the conference.
But Mirra and her co-authors found that that this was simply not the case.
Disruptions such as welcoming new students to the classrooms, and locking down the school during emergencies and drills eat away at more instructional time at high poverty schools than in lower-poverty schools. So too do routines, such transitioning students from the hallways to the class period. First period is a particular challenge in high-poverty schools.
The authors attribute a large delay in first period start time in low income schools to the lack of steady and reliable public transportation in many high-poverty communities.
Teachers at high-poverty schools reported a chronic loss of instructional time due to noisy classrooms or their rooms needing to be cleaned.
The study is based on a 2013 survey of a representative of sample of 783 teachers from 193 California charter and traditional public schools.
This is yet another example of inequality experienced by students of color. How can we reverse this trend?
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