Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Gap Fixation?

Closing the Achievement Gap. It's a prominent, if unavoidable, topic in educator circles these days (and the cover story for the next issue of The Principal News).

So, when we see a headline like "Why I have no use for the achievement gap," it catches our attention. This is the theme of today's column from Washington Post education writer Jay Mathews, who offers an unusual perspective on our nation's "gap fixation."

"You see it. It's simple," Mathews says. "It forces us to hope that white kids, or middle class kids, or high achieving kids, don't improve."

Referring to a case in which both African-American fourth graders and white fourth-graders improved over the course of two years—the first group gaining three points, the second gaining eight—Mathews remarks, "Both groups of kids got better, Why is that a something we want to avoid?"

A popular opinion? Probably not. Food for thought? Definitely.

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