Recently I wrote a column on the utilization of standardized test scores to rank schools, and the perils of using this single measurement in determining the quality of a school system. Since then, I have received many comments (and had many conversations) regarding this subject and determined this subject worthy of further exploration. Many researchers have delved deeply into this subject; the general synapses of many of these research studies indicate that a family’s socioeconomic status of the student has a high correlation to test score results.
This leads one to ask “what is socioeconomic status?” According to Wikipedia, this is an analysis of a family’s household income, wealth, education level and occupation. The chart below, taken from the United States Census data, provides a quick look at some of these socioeconomic indicators for our community and region.
As stated above research has shown a correlation to socioeconomic status and test scores. However, correlation does not mean causation. The actual causes are that children in low socioeconomic households do not have the same resources as children from higher level households. This might include parents that devote time helping their children learn; in some cases having parents with the capability of assisting children with learning. Also, falling in this are the financial means to other learning possibilities that takes place due to personal economics. Poor families might not get to travel and learn geography first hand, witness culturally stimulating events such as museums nor even have access to the World Wide Web.
Research also indicates that another cause of poor performance in school is at the peer level. Students that engage with other poor performing students, or students that drop out, tend to perform poorly as well and have a higher dropout rate. In other words, hanging out with a group of people with low expectations leads to poor results.
Then we might ask, how then do some communities that are similar to Pearl River County actually do well on standardized tests? Research indicates that setting high expectations is the key variable in predicting high scores on tests. Children from higher socioeconomic areas are expected to perform well. Their parents and peers all perform well; therefore, that is the norm. The challenge for any community that wants to improve school performance is to set the bar high for students; this means setting the bar high for the community.
Community leaders should strive to create an attractive business climate, recruit higher paying industries and establish policy that can result in the community rising above the rest. If we are to place higher expectations on our students then we should certainly place high expectations on our community.
HCH: Reliable cardiac C.A.R.E.
A recent Community Health Needs Assessment was performed with the
information provided by a steering committee comprised of local
community leaders, patients and employees of Highland Community
Hospital (HCH) and assistance from HORNE LLP, in addition to
information retrieved from state and national databases.
The graduation maze
The Mississippi Department of Education has laid out a new plan that provides more options when it comes to graduating from high school. As the title of this column implies, it is quite a maze and somewhat complicated. But that is OK. Life is not simple, and the many decisions that young people have to make are sometimes daunting.
Storms make historical impact
This column is designated for economic development issues in and around the county. But at this time I feel it a huge burden to discuss the the parallels between Katrina, which impacted the entire region economically and every other area that could be impacted.
For us longtime residents of south Mississippi and Louisiana it is near impossible not to make comparisons between the destructive storm that hit the Phillipines and the experiences of August of 2005. Both storms certainly changed the lives of many residents of both areas. For the residents of that lived through Katrina, Haiyan will certainly be a benchmark in their lives.
Nissan of Picayune welcomes Dan Crumpler
Dan Crumpler is the newest addition to the team at Nissan of Picayune. The general manager said he chose the Picayune dealership from five potential dealerships because of the small town community, friendly people and the potential for growth he felt that the dealership had.
AEF opens new facility
Avon Engineered Fabrication (AEF) held its grand opening on Wednesday at its new facility at 113 Street A in the Picayune Industrial Park.
Education is economic driver
The latest labor market information indicates that Pearl River County has an unemployment rate of 8.0 %. Pearl River County ranked 23rd on the August 2013 report issued by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security; Rankin County topped the list with an unemployment rate of 4.7%. Comparisons with some of our neighboring counties find Lamar County at 5.9%, Harrison and Forrest Counties at
7.7%, Hancock County at 7.8%, and Marion County at 9.6%. The average
rate for all of Mississippi falls in at 8.4%.
Frizz opens for business
Frizz Salon, LLC, celebrated their opening with a Chamber Ribbon Cutting on October 1, at 9 a.m.
Furloughed can apply for unemployment; must meet criteria
“Go ahead and apply for employment benefits. If you have worked at least 5 consecutive quarters and meet the other standard criteria, we have been advised from the U.S. Department of Labor to accept and process these claims just as any other claim.”
—Miss. Department of Labor Communications Department Catherine Stokes
Brownstone Center for the Arts – the ‘big picture’ for impact
Pearl River Community College (PRCC) marked the grand opening of the Brownstone Center for the Arts with a spectacular performance by the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. The Brownstone Center was made possible by Pearl River County native Ethel Holden Brownstone. The 1931 graduate of Pearl River Agricultural High School and Junior College bestowed a substantial gift to PRCC, of which $4 million was invested into the Center.
View community events at www.picayunechamber.org
The Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce's website allows any Chamber member or community organization to submit an event for consideration by Chamber staff to be included on the chamber's website,picayunechamber.org.
Once the event has been approved and posted on the Chamber's website it will also post to Facebook two days prior to the event and will be advertised on The Chamber Insight which is emailed to over 600 contacts each week.
See complete article in 9.21.2013 E-edition of the Picayune Item.
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- HCH: Reliable cardiac C.A.R.E.