"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, June 16, 2006

Class Differences and Achievement Differences

WestEd is offering a free pdf of a policy perspective offered by Richard Rothstein, a longtime advocate for a realistic and systemic approach to improving life for residents in poverty areas as the linchpin to improving schools and closing achievement gaps:
Without complementary investments in early childhood education, health care, housing, after-school and summer programs, and other social and economic supports, the academic achievement gap between lower- and middle-class children will never be closed. In this new Policy Perspectives paper, Richard Rothstein, Research Associate of the Economic Policy Institute, outlines a series of reforms, in addition to school improvement, that could help narrow the achievement gap. As Rothstein writes:

“If as a society we choose to preserve big social class differences, we must necessarily also accept substantial gaps between the achievement of lower-class and middle-class children. Closing those gaps requires not only better schools, although those are certainly needed, but also reform in the social and economic institutions that prepare children to learn in different ways. It will not be cheap.”

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