Does family income affect your child’s school rating?

Published: July 13, 2019 1:26 AM EDT
Updated: July 14, 2019 8:23 AM EDT

The recently released report for school ratings may indicate that where families live and how much they make will impact how their child does in school.

Parents may not like seeing their child earn a C on their report card. But at DeSoto County’s Nocatee Elementary, they’re celebrating a C. Since 2013, Nocatee scored a D or an F on the state’s school grades.

“It takes a village to raise child,” said Nikki Meredith at Nocatee. “We definitely became a village to bring these children up.”

Nocatee is one of several Southwest Florida schools that didn’t receive an A, but its progress report shows it’s overcoming some big challenges.

“All five of the schools in DeSoto County are Title I schools, so we have some children that come from less fortunate backgrounds,” Meredith said.

FGCU professor Dr. Thomas Felke said there is a clear correlation between poverty and poor grades.

“When you look at Glades and Hendry, you have household median income and household family income that are closer to $30 to $40,000 range,” Felke said. “Where as in your most popular county, Charlotte ,Lee Collier, higher household and family median income’s that are closer to $50, $60,000.”

There are also more A and b schools in both counties. That’s one reason the Florida Education Association is critical of the state’s school grade system. It believes instead of the grade being a measure of success, it’s more a measure of family income.

“It’s a challenge to have some of those resources that our other schools have,” Jermaine Andrews said. “Some parents don’t have transportation so even when it comes to vouchers for taxis for example to be able to come to parent night or open house.”

“Our guidance counselor and our nurse, they keep clothing for the students who maybe they have outgrown their shoes, or they don’t have socks,” Meredith said.

And teachers in these schools also face challenges. DeSoto’s superintendent says they’ve upped benefit and insurance packages for them district-wide

Educators in DeSoto said they are passionate about improvement and won’t settle for a C. They want an A. but it’s less about the letter and more about seeing students improve.

For full details on Florida Department of Education’s report, see the Florida School Accountability Reports.

MORE: Grades are in for all SWFL school districts