(C. Proxmire, Feb. 23, 2013)
For some the grass really may seem greener in someone else’s neighborhood, especially if it’s on a color-coded map based on income. The website www.Richblockspoorblocks.com provides maps with neighborhoods color-coded based on data from US Census American Community Surveys for the past several years. The maps can show income or rental costs for communities across the country. By clicking on an area one can retrieve the specific data.
NW Ferndale - On that site you can zoom in close to see that Ferndale’s greatest income median lies in the NW quadrant of the city, which has a median household income of $63,109.00.
NE Ferndale- Across Woodward from Pleasant Ridge all the way to 9 and Woodward is an area with a median income of just $39,868.00. Further East, across the railroad tracks, the area around Martin Road Park and extending to the Hazel Park boarder is part of Hazel Park Schools. Their average household income was slightly higher, with a median income of $43,861.00.
SE Ferndale – from 8 Mile to 9 Mile and Woodward to the City limits bordering Hazel Park, was divided into two areas, but both came in with the same median income of $46,420.00.
SW Ferndale- From 8 to 9 Mile and Woodward east to Pinecrest, the median income was $53,401.00. In a long narrow section from Pinecrest to the city limits, the median household income is $51,579.00.
Oak Park - Looking at the three sections of Oak Park that border Ferndale, the one furthest south, from Royal Oak Township to 9 Mile, has a median household income of $38,688.00. The northern two sections of Oak Park are close in income to each other. The part closest to 9 Mile has a median household income of $58,625.00, and the part closest to 10 Mile has $53,036.00.
Pleasant Ridge – Next is Pleasant Ridge, which is also part of the Ferndale School District. They are the neighbors just West of NW Ferndale, and the median household income there is $107,750.00.
Part of Strategic Planning - The challenges that come from having a mix of socioeconomic backgrounds in the school system are part of the discussions happening around the Ferndale Schools strategic plan. In a prior interview, consultant Charles Fleetham identified the four trends in the conversations he’d been having with stakeholders, “Those topics, which are now the focus of the planning moving forward, are enrollment, race, trust and collaboration and achievement gaps between student groups.” To learn more about the strategic planning process read our previous article at http://ferndale115.com/nuevo/2013/02/01/ferndale-schools-move-ahead-with-strategic-planning/.
Detroit - The discussion about economic divisions among students becomes even more complex when you add in University High School (http://ferndale115.com/nuevo/2013/01/17/university-high-school-info-session-jan-23/) and the Digital Learning Center (http://ferndale115.com/nuevo/2012/09/06/ferndale-schools-digital-learning-center-opens/), which bring in students from Detroit and other cities. Income-wise, the maps show much of Detroit with lower incomes than Ferndale and other South Oakland County communities.
What Students Have Said - In a powerful presentation back in 2010, students from the FHS Diversity Club talked about how the biggest division among students was based on where they lived even more than their particular clique or by race. (http://www.ferndale115.com/20100430diversity.html)
Reduced Lunches Show Income Division in Primary School Programs - Additional research showed that within the school buildings there are income-related differences in the primary school programs, but that the higher grades even out. The Center for Educational Performance and Information provides information about the numbers of students in each public school building receive free or reduced lunches. This can be a determination of a community’s economic health because the lunch program is based on income and how many people are in a household. (http://www.michigan.gov/cepi/0,1607,7-113-21423_30451_36965—,00.html).
Ferndale Schools provided The Ferndale 115 News with the chart below outlining the numbers for Ferndale Schools. The numbers in red are for 2012. The ones in black are from 2011.
For 2012, John F. Kennedy School has just 28.78% of their student population qualifying for free or reduced lunches. At Roosevelt it is 66.45% and at Coolidge it is 68.55%.
Ferndale School Board Vice President Karen Twomey is also involved in the Strategic Planning Committee. She is passionate about exploring ways to alleviate the effects of poverty on students. “Currently in America one in four children are living in poverty, and Ferndale is sadly not much different. As educators we have all the data to prove the effect that poverty has on learning. Although American schools cannot be blamed for childhood poverty, we can certainly work to be a piece of the solution. It is my hope that the district’s strategic planning process will help us to discover resources, strategies and policies that can help us better serve our families struggling with the issues of poverty. As a village we must embrace each to advance all,” Twomey said.
Ferndale in the Region – The Rich Blocks Poor Blocks website also helps put Ferndale in perspective regionally. It is a clear pattern of wealth the further out one goes from Detroit, and Ferndale is simply on the outer ring of the big City, making Ferndale’s income among the lower end in Oakland County. Though of course income is not the only factor to stability or happiness, as many Ferndalians continue to enjoy quality parks, a top-notch Library and a growing economy.
Resources for Those Who Are Struggling- There is some help out there for the people with low incomes.
Here is a story about low cost or free medical care, with information provided by FernCare- http://ferndale115.com/nuevo/2013/01/23/ferncares-resources-for-low-income-healthcare/
Here is a story about food and other resources in Ferndale – http://ferndale115.com/nuevo/2010/12/25/resources-for-the-struggling-in-ferndale/.
And each week we run Job postings from the Ferndale Career Center, such as this one – http://ferndale115.com/nuevo/2013/02/19/need-a-job-here-is-the-fcc-job-flash-6/.