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Individual Field Research: Rural, Suburban, And Urban Educational Systems

1288 words - 6 pages

The rural poverty topic that my group chose to address is a comparison between public education systems located in urban, suburban, and rural counties within the state of Georgia. The counties selected to research are Fulton, Cobb, and Clarke. The purpose of the project is to determine how location, demographics, and legislation affect individual educational resources, experiences, and outcomes for children of low income families.
Education is a topic in which there are so many contributing factors and variables that narrowing the field of research is difficult. To begin, demographics of each individual county are essential for understanding the student population from raw data. ...view middle of the document...

Title I provides federal funding to schools based on the number of children that meet the criteria for free or reduced lunches. The purpose is to improve student learning for the most disadvantaged children. Subsidies are used to improve teaching resources and student learning. Methods to enhance parental involvement are also an initiative provided by the program. Title I schools may be categorized as Priority or Focus schools which is based on graduation rates and achievement gaps established by standardized testing scores within individuals schools. In addition, my group conducted an interview with an employee of a Title I elementary school in each county. This proved to be a more difficult source of information than one would expect. Educators in some of the schools were not necessarily eager to speak openly about their experiences inside the educational system with extremely disadvantaged students. Hypothetically speaking, it appeared that the internal climate of individual schools as well as familiarity with the interviewee was a strong component in the degree of shared personal insight. A considerable amount of the research about county school districts is available via websites, although some counties require formal requests for certain information.
All of the five suburban Cobb County schools that I visited had no visible differences in upkeep and appearance whether they were Title I schools or not. The schools range in age and space availability, but each school has some kind of recent building addition or improvement. At all of the school locations, there is evidence that there has been a significant amount of trailers located on the properties at some time in recent history. The elementary schools each provide fairly new play equipment for both younger and older elementary students. Portions of the interiors of the middle and high school are not in the best or cleanest conditions. Bathrooms have no soap or paper towels and are in need of a serious cleaning. The elementary schools are in much better shape in terms of supplies and cleanliness. The school grounds are maintained minimally in each location. Four of the schools are located in seemingly nice areas in direct relation to individual neighborhoods with houses. The school with the largest free and reduced lunch population of about 85 percent is surrounded by and abundance of highly populated apartment complexes.
The Clarke County School District was used for the rural portion of our research. All Clarke County schools are Title I schools. The two schools we visited within the city of Athens near University of Georgia are older schools, but appear to be in fairly good condition. The high school was located just blocks from a city housing project in one direction and one block over from UGA fraternity and Sorority housing. The location of the school is plagued by the incongruity of extreme poverty on one side and wealth and abundance on the other side. Beyond the beauty and...

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