Friday, July 25, 2014

In Which I Solve the Education Achievement Gap

Teachers and education "reformers" have been battling back and forth in the editorial page and letters of the Star Tribune recently. First, a Strib editorial said everyone needs an effective teacher, and that would solve the achievement gap.

Then teacher Melinda Bennett responded in an op-ed, saying it doesn't matter how effective the teacher is if the kids aren't fed, have moved three times in a year (or are living in a homeless shelter), and are justifiably angry at the world because of all this.

Today, there are two letters in response. One reiterates the point about research proving effective teachers work no matter what. The other, from a reading specialist in the Minneapolis schools, supports Bennett's claim that students can't learn when they're abused, neglected, and hungry. She also, however, says students need their parents involved in their educations, including their homework.

Here's what we know:

What keeps us from doing these types of payments? I would pin it mostly on racism, which underlies the persistent white American attitude about the "deserving" and "undeserving" poor.

There's more to solving the achievement gap. See my earlier post, based largely on Diane Ravitch's great book Reign of Error, for more.

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