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

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Dumber

Some day historians will look back on this era of testing madness as the time when reality intruded upon the intractable lie that schools alone can close the achievement gap. For now, however, we have to continue to watch the truth leak in, drip by drip. Here is another drip by Sam Dillon, showing that the family income, er, achievement gap is actually getting worse:
A Persistent Gap

When President Bush signed his sweeping education law a year into his presidency, it set 2014 as the deadline by which schools were to close the test-score gaps between minority and white students that have persisted since standardized testing began.

Now, as Congress prepares to consider reauthorizing the law next year, researchers and a half-dozen recent studies, including three issued last week, are reporting little progress toward that goal. Slight gains have been seen for some grade levels.

Despite concerted efforts by educators, the test-score gaps are so large that, on average, African-American and Hispanic students in high school can read and do arithmetic at only the average level of whites in junior high school.

“The gaps between African-Americans and whites are showing very few signs of closing,” Michael T. Nettles, a senior vice president at the Educational Testing Service, said in a paper he presented recently at Columbia University. One ethnic minority, Asians, generally fares as well as or better than whites.

The reports and their authors, in interviews, portrayed an educational landscape in which test-score gaps between black or Hispanic students and whites appear in kindergarten and worsen through 12 years of public education.. . .


  1. When do we finally get to start closing other gaps?

    The achievement gap allows us to look past all the other gaps in this country.

    Let's talk about the lead in your drinking water gap or the kids in a print rich environment gap or the salary gap or the homeowner gap or the healthcare gap...

  2. Anonymous11:35 PM

    NCLB was designed to bully public schools. It should have been obvious that an environment of indimidation wouldn't solve our problems.