Friday, August 24, 2007

Tests show racial achievement gap

The California test scores are in and they mirror national trends: over all, they're up over the past five years, but enormous achievement gaps remain that cannot be explained by different income levels: poor white kids outscore middle and even upper class African-American and Latino kids.  All evidence shows that teacher and school quality explains a lot of this, but just as clearly there are outside-of-school factors as well.  The one argument I'm sick of hearing is that the tests are "culturally biased".  Hogwash!  
It's good to see the state Superintendent of Education so focused on this issue, though he appears to be ducking the tough explanations for why there's an achievement gap.  We can't start to fix the problem until we explain the reasons for it, however poltically incorrect some of them may be.

"These are not just economic achievement gaps," state  Superintendent Jack O'Connell said in announcing the test scores from an elementary school in Inglewood.
"They are racial achievement gaps, and we cannot continue to excuse them."
It's a new twist on what has become a common theme for O'Connell -- the danger the achievement gap poses for California's economic  future. About 56 percent of the state's public school students are Latino or black, so their academic performance now will have a big influence on the work force of the future.
"I've been pounding this drum and am going to continue to do so, not just for the moral imperative that we have, but for the economic imperative," O'Connell said.
"We're going to focus on (the achievement gap) like a heat-seeking missile during my last three years here as the state  superintendent."

PS--To see the results from the 9 KIPP schools in California, see: <;type=school&amp;q=kipp&amp;x=14&amp;y=19>


Tests show racial achievement gap
State results shed new light on wealth vs. poverty debate.
By Laurel Rosenhall - Bee Staff Writer
August 16, 2007

Whether they are poor or rich, white students are scoring higher than their African American and Latino classmates on the state's standardized tests, results released Wednesday show. And in some cases, the poorest white students are doing better than Latino and black students who come from middle class or wealthy families.

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