Skip to main content

View Diary: Why the Achievement Gap Matters and Will Remain (147 comments)

Comment Preferences

    •  Unfortunately your analysis is simplistic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Linda Wood

      You claim

      First, and this is the most important aspect of the topic, the achievement gap is primarily a reflection of the equity gap that exists in the lives of children, and only secondarily a reflection of school quality and practices.

      Your diary totally lacks evidence for this claim.  That is probably because most of the evidence suggests this is incorrect.

      For example,  see this data from Milwaukee Public Schools:

      Start with Table 14.  (Does anyone know how I can put a table into a comment?)

      Whites getting free lunches do better than African Americans who requested but were denied free lunches and almost as well as African Americans who did not requres free lunches.

      In general, the gap between races within similar income groups is about as large as the gap within races between the top and bottom income groups.  This means that other racial factors are as big an issue as income.

      In actual fact, this probably understates matters.  

      If you assume that a big portion of the difference between AA and white performance is due to social / cultural familial factors and that school performance correlates with economic success then you would expect many of the high income AAs to be those who do not share some of the social / cultural familial factors that reduce school performance of their poorer peers.

      If you just somehow raised the incomes of poorer families you would not change the other factors and the gap between same income AA and Whites would most likely increase.

      What are those other factors?

      Well, obviously, no one knows.  

      Some candidates:

      1. Parental commitment to education

      2. Parental involvement in education

      3. Peer pressure to do well

      4. Peer pressure to do BADLY (there is substantial research among many populations on peer pressure to do various kinds of work badly to avoid making one's peers look bad in comparison)

      5. Performance anxiety by AAs who feel that if they do badly they validate racism... and who therefor do badly in a self fulfilling prophecy

      6. Multi-generational epi-genetic factors (ancestral environment can have an impact on expression of descendents' genotypes - Lamarck lives!)

      7. Desire to avoid "acting white"

      8. Teachers' racially biased expectations

      9. Standardized tests being somehow inappropriate for African Americans (I don't see how this isn't a claim of some kind of genetic inferiority of AAs, but many supposed liberals make this claim)

      10. The particular standardized tests we use being culturally biased.  (But how can that be for straight arithmetic tests?)

      11. And, of course, genetic inferiority (see The Bell Curve)

      Given all this (and the obvious fact that we are not going to equalize incomes in the US) it makes sense to pay a lot more attention to these other factors and see which ones can be ameliorated or eliminated.

      •  I recommend your comment (0+ / 0-)

        because you challenge the basic premise of the diarist and because you gave the link to the very strong report in Milwaukee. Thank you for that information.

        But I hope you have read the Milwaukee report because it answers a lot of your questions.

      •  The comment you reject is solidly supported (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The proof:

        (1) Read this carefully:

        But note there first point: "It can be said:
        Research has shown that the variation in student achievement is predominantly a product of individual and family background characteristics. Of the school factors that have been isolated for study, teachers are probably the most important determinants of how students will perform on standardized tests."

        (2) 6 out-of-school factors primary influence:

        (3) 86% of student outcomes related to out-of-school factors:

        (4) Teachers account for about 13-17% of student outcomes only: Hanushek, E. (2010, December). The economic value of higher teacher quality. Working paper 56. Washington, DC: Calder, The Urban Institute.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site