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The Achievement Gap

The “achievement gap” in education refers to the disparity in academic performance between groups of students. The achievement gap shows up in grades, standardized-test scores, course selection, dropout rates, and college-completion rates, among other forms in which success is measured.

The achievement gap is a problem, no doubt about it, a very serious problem in education.  What is the cause of this problem?  According to several sources, the achievement gap is the result of:

            a.  cultural relevance understanding within the school community
            b.  performance of the school as a whole
c.  socio economic status of the school location
            d.  location of the school in the district
            e.  quality of the educator

 As I listened to my co workers speak at oue meeting today, I became more and more upset.  There were countless references about how tests, curriculum and other school materials were not made or relevant to “our children”, but they weren’t referring to all of the students at the school.  They were referencing the African American children at the school. Our school is so much more than that, we have over 20 difference cultures represented at our school.  We mirror the population of the United States which currently illustrates how the nonwhite population has increased by 1.9 percent to 116 million, or 37 percent of the U.S. The fastest percentage growth is among multiracial Americans, followed by Asians and Hispanics (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/). Our school has about 37%, probably higher, of African American scholars, followed by non white hispanics, Native American, Muslim etc. .  . down to less than 1% of white scholars.

The staff at this school seemed to represent the population of the school, which I thought was great.  It also isn’t a red school (a low performing school), we are thin sliver away from green (a good school).   In addition to a such an ethnic difference among the staff, there are male teachers at kinder level.  Granted the male is a special educator, but still we have male teachers in the general education classroom as well.  Finally, a school where the staff and the scholars mirrored one another.

However, when there is talk of cultural relevance, the reference is African American vs White, not Muslim or Hispanic.  Nor is there any discussion of the individuals who are mixed and believe me there are several scholars who fall in this category as well. Little discussion of developing good teachers, just recruiting good teachers and hope they stay. As a result, only one part of the problem is discussed and addressed, the other issues are not mentioned.  If they are mentioned, it is only for a moment and no solutions are discussed.

This is a touchy issue!  How do we resolve the achievement gap? Obviously, there is a problem, but what is the solution.  Brown vs. the Board of Education illustrates without a doubt separate but equal is not equal.  It is up to us to make it equal, make it equitable to everyone.   My own opinion is that when we develop a relationship with our students and their families.  We can work on the achievement gap by working on relationships among our school community. Educators can work together. We can also work on closing the achievement gap by promoting, developing and PAYING good teachers all over the nation.

Standardized testing will not show or bring good teachers forward.  Time shows how good a teacher is based on their students achievements over the years.  Good teachers , who are present for the students, have good relationships with their students and educate their students are needed in all schools.  We as a nation need to promote this so our children, all of our children will be successful.

Reference:

The Associated Press. (2013) retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/whites-losing-

majority-in-us-in-under-5-group/

Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. (2011, July 7). Issues A-Z: Achievement Gap.

Education Week. Retrieved December 6, 2016, from http://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/achievement-

gap/chievement-gap/index.html

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