After nearly a half century of supposed progress in race relations within the United States, the modest improvements in achievement gaps since 1965 can only be called a national embarrassment. Put differently, if we continue to close gaps at the same rate in the future, it will be roughly two and a half centuries before the black-white math gap closes and over one and a half centuries until the reading gap closes. If “Equality of Educational Opportunity” was expected to mobilize the resources of the nation’s schools in pursuit of racial equity, it undoubtedly failed to achieve its objective. Nor did it increase the overall level of performance of high school students on the eve of their graduation, despite the vast increase in resources that would be committed to education over the ensuing five decades (see Figures 2, 3, and 4).
Little attention was paid to indications in the Coleman Report that teachers might be a particularly critical school factor. But since the report’s publication, scholars have developed more precise data on teacher effectiveness, and, by probing at differences in teacher quality within schools, have found very large impacts of teacher quality on student achievement. Admittedly, many teacher characteristics commonly used to measure teacher quality have little, if any impact on student performance. Whether teachers are certified, or obtain an advanced degree, or attend a specific college or university, or receive more or less mentoring or professional development turns out to be almost completely unrelated to a teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom.
Essay: Education Policy and Pupil Achievement
This approach privileges family background over any indicators of school resources or peer group relationships, as it implicitly attributes all shared variation to those variables included in the first step of the stepwise modeling. For example, if parental education and teacher experience are both strongly related to achievement, and children from better-educated families attend schools with more-experienced teachers, then it will appear as if teacher experience has little effect while the effect of parental education is magnified. The first step, looking at just the relationship between achievement and parental education, actually incorporates both the direct effect of parental education on achievement and the indirect effect of the more-experienced teachers in their schools. When the analysis gets to the point of adding teacher experience to the explanation of achievement, the only marginal impact will come from the portion of variation in experience that is totally unrelated to family background.
The Achievement Gap Essay Examples - New York essay
Resetting Our Expectations
Needless to say, there seems little likelihood that, as a matter of national policy, America will soon tackle the out-of-school causes of the achievement gap in any sustained, preventive way. Doing so would demand a fundamental shift in the current accountability mindset that holds schools almost solely responsible for student outcomes. It would also demand an aggressive increase in funding for K-12 education, for pre-school and after-school programs, and for medical, social, and other services. All of this runs directly counter to the current market-worshipping, tax-cutting philosophy in Washington and would surely meet fierce political resistance from conservatives. At the same time, a serious effort to enhance students school readiness wouldnt just press government to do more for children; it would press their parents to do so, as well, which would spark resistance at the grass-roots level. (Witness the criticism directed by African Americans at comedian Bill Cosby over his call for greater responsibility on the part of black parents.) No wonder so many people prefer to concentrate solely on the schools.
Set about your essay writing effort by listing your achievements
While it seems doubtful that the necessary changes will materialize, I think the evidence is overwhelming: without real preventive investment in the pre-school experience of most Hispanic and black children, and in the ongoing circumstances in which they grow up, the achievement gap is unlikely to narrow appreciably. We can expect essentially what weve had: small incremental improvements overall and isolated stories of turnaround schools sparked by heroic leaders and dedicated teachers. These turnarounds, though truly inspiring, are literally exceptional and prove temporary and unreplicable on any large scale. Making the investment may not guarantee that we will succeed in closing the gap; not making the investment virtually guarantees that the gap we wont.