I’m not buying it. Sometimes, my students accuse me of reading too much into a thing. So tell me what you think. Achievement implies that the students are not achieving. While that may be true, such a focus puts the responsibility on them, which is not only not true, it is wrong.

I prefer Opportunity Gap. Give all students a home that is free of lead, books and adults with time and ability to read to them (because they have jobs that allow them to do just one job during a shift that works best for their family situation), pre-school / Head Start for everyone, competitive pay for teachers in all districts, a school funding plan that has not been declared unconstitutional  without any action being taken (http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/03/25/15-years–no-school-funding-fix.html), and then maybe we can talk about an achievement gap. For me, it’s like a race (and that word was chosen intentionally) in which certain people start way behind, and has to carry sandbags and navigate landmines. Don’t talk to me about achievement until everyone has the same opportunities.I have long wondered about Brown v. Board of Education. I know it’s long been considered a sacred, almost universally supported decision. But what if we’re wrong? Zora Neale Hurston said, “How much satisfaction can I get from a court order for somebody to associate with me who does not wish me near them?” Was it more of an attempt to fix society than it was to fix education? What if we had maintained separate and had instead focused on the equal?

So when Singleton and Linton ask me to reflect on the differences between my school system and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School District (because they’ve made some impressive progress in closing the achievement gap), I’d say we can’t compare. I’m not sure of the racial make-up of our district. Let’s see if I can find it.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, our student body is 65.6% black, non-Hispanic and 100% economically disadvantaged.  (My school is 100% students of color.) We also received an F for ‘closing the gap.’ Source: http://reportcard.education.ohio.gov/Pages/District-Report.aspx?DistrictIRN=043786.

We have this: CTAG.

http://www.clevelandmetroschools.org/Page/594

Does it do any good?

The most recent stats I can find are 5 years old –

http://www.learningfirst.org/stories/ClevelandMentoring

This, to me, is positive. . .

http://pre4cle.org/

It’s a long road.

 

 

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