Sunday, November 07, 2010

Closing the "achievement gap"

In the Journal this morning, link, links to every story the Journal has published on "the achievement gap" in education.

The gap they refer to is interracial; whites, Hispanics, blacks, and so on.

In grouping kids by race, an opportunity presents itself to spend millions of dollars on Hispanics, on blacks, and so on. And by spending millions of dollars, I don't mean, on students. I mean on more bureaucracies and more bureaucrats.

In truth, there is only one achievement gap. It applies to an individual child, and it is the difference between where they are educationally, and where they could be.

If you were an educator, and you had a student in front of you, and invisible to you, you could ask questions of the student and eventually come to understand the obstacles between that student and the best they can do. You could do this, and never ask them what color their skin is.

Grouping students according to their race is fundamentally no different, nor any more effective than grouping them according to their date of manufacture. "Cemetery seating"; the educational model that takes 30 kids with nothing in common but the year of their birth, and then moves them lockstep in exactly the same direction at exactly the same speed for 12 years, is the intrinsic flaw in education. It is the cause of our failure.

The answer lies in individual educational plans; plans tailor made for the individual needs of individual students.

But alas, there are no bureaucracies to be built in that endeavor; no more bureaucrats to be given government jobs for life.

So we will ignore the obvious fix, and try the same tactic one more time. And then we will try it again, and again, and again.

There is one achievement gap that is of real importance;
it is the individual achievement gap.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many poor kids go to college, many rich kids do not.
MAny white kids are drop outs, many kids of other colors are graduating every year.
"Hispanic" is not a "Color" and has a million different sub- classifications, and no one can say "Hispanics", as a whole, are "at-risk" kids.
This whole thing about "coloring kids" as being "at risk" had a use back in the 60s and 70s, but it is so outdated now that it is detrimental to label students as such in this day and age. It also supports racists views and ideas.
You are right: every child learns his/her own way and in his/her own tempo.
A wise teacher once told me: "It's a dtrimental thing to try to make all students college-bound. Some hate school, some are no good at it, and some want to go to trade schools, and some want to go straight to service industry. We basically call kids failure3s when they don't become college bound. All students should be respected for the final life's decisions they make"
Thanks Ched...once more, you are right on track with this!