Friday, February 24, 2012

Re “Poor Dropping Further Behind Rich in School” (front page, Feb. 10)

The recent NYT article about "The Poor Dropping Behind the Rich in School" ( elicited the usual dopey letters to the editor ( bashing NCLB, making excuses for lousy schools and teachers, etc., but amidst the foolishness, one letter stood out, taking issue (as I did) with the idiotic conclusion that "the cupboard is bare":


To the Editor:

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Dadu Shin


Re "Poor Dropping Further Behind Rich in School" (front page, Feb. 10):


From the civil rights movement of the 1960s to the election of the first African-American president in 2008, our country has made considerable progress in reducing the achievement gap related to race. That progress did not just happen.


I disagree with Douglas J. Besharov, a fellow at the Atlantic Council, that "no one has the slightest idea what will work" or that "the cupboard is bare."


There is a rich, diverse mosaic of programs, services and organizations that have intervened to create access to high-quality educational opportunities, provide academic enrichment and skill-building, ensure retention and college completion, and create career awareness and opportunities for African-Americans and other students of color. The decreasing gap is evidence that these efforts have had impact.


There are lessons to be learned from many of these efforts. What organizations have been most successful? Why have these interventions been effective in narrowing the achievement gap with race? How can we leverage best practices to attack the growing gaps in education between the rich and the poor?


We have known for some time that growing gaps in educational levels between income groups are making social and economic mobility more challenging, if not impossible. It's time to focus on what has worked so we can restore the kind of opportunity that our society is built on.



President, A Better Chance

New York, Feb. 10, 2012

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