Exploring the Achievement Gap Carrie Anderson, Amber Aspevig, Kate Bertin As an introduction to our topic we created this video and posted it on youtube. The video is an original creation made for this presentation.
What is going on? http://lascobrasvenenosas.blogspot.com/2009/05/la-confusion-por-begona.html
Without question, both elements influence and perpetuate an academic achievement gap - a startlingly wide gap...
which has not narrowed significantly since 1954's Brown vs. Board of Education
and whose under-performing group is comprised of minority students of color and from low socioeconomic conditions.
In this presentation we will look at WHY there is an achievement gap between students of color and white students, and also between students from higher socioeconomic conditions and those from lower socioeconomic conditions.
But first, let's have some perspective from professionals on the front lines.
This short clip provides a first look, from California- (youtube, "Who is accountable?", Langerston & Lee)
"Anyone who visits in the schools of East St. Louis, [Illinois] even for a short time, comes away profoundly shaken. These are innocent children, after all. They have done nothing wrong. They have committed no crime. They are too young to have offended us in any way at all. One searches for some way to understand why a society as rich and, frequently, as generous as ours would leave these children in their penury and squalor for so long -- and with so little public indignation. Is this just a strange mistake of history? Is it unusual? Is it an American anomaly?" (p.40).
East St. Louis is but one of many communities in the country held hostage to abject poverty.
-demographic 98% black
-"poor and devastated city"
-crumbling school facilities and shortage of teachers, resources and morale:
"Trapped within the parameters of their world, many children gradually lose hope. Their learning potential slowly erodes. Their aspirations slip away. Fewer and fewer opportunities remain open to them" (Kozol, 1991).
-According to the National Assessment on Academic Progress in 2009, White students had higher scores than Black students, on average, on all assessments. While the nationwide gaps in 2007 were narrower than in previous assessments at both grades 4 and 8 in mathematics and at grade 4 in reading, White students had average scores at least 26 points higher than Black students in each subject, on a 0-500 scale.
-The United States has "one of the most unequal education systems in the industrialized world" (Darling Hammond, 2007,1).
Mathematics: Figure 13-1: Average mathematics scale scores of 4th- and 8th-grade students, by school poverty level: Selected years, 2000-09 NOTE: The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics scores range from 0 to 500 for grades 4 and 8. The percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch ranges between 0–25 percent in low-poverty schools and between 76–100 percent in high-poverty schools. For more information on NAEP, see supplemental note 4 and for more information on free or reduced-price lunch, see supplemental note 1 . SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), selected years, 2000–2009 Mathematics Assessments, NAEP Data Explorer.
Figure 13-2: Average mathematics scale scores of 12th-grade students, by race/ethnicity: 2005 and 2009 NOTE: The framework for the 12th-grade mathematics assessment was revised in 2005; as a result, the 2005 and 2009 results cannot be compared with those from previous years. At grade 12, mathematics scores on the revised assessment range from 0 to 300. For more information on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), see supplemental note 4 . Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. For more information on race/ethnicity, see supplemental note 1 . SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), selected years, 2005 and 2009 Mathematics Assessments, NAEP Data Explorer.
Reading: Figure 11-1: Average reading scale scores of 12th-grade students, by race/ethnicity: Selected years, 1992-2009 NOTE: The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading scale ranges from 0 to 500. Testing accommodations (e.g., extended time, small group testing) for children with disabilities and English language learners were not permitted in 1992 and 1994; students were tested with and without accommodations in 1998. For more information on NAEP, see supplemental note 4 . Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. For more information on race/ethnicity, see supplemental note 1 . SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), selected years, 1992–2009 Reading Assessments, NAEP Data Explorer.
High School Drop-out Rates, 2009:
American Indian/Alaska Native- 13.2%
taken from: http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=16 http://www.futurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/ADHD-1.jpg
This begs the question:
To what extent do external and internal factors influence these results?
"It costs more to educate children who come from low-income families, are English language learners, or who qualify for special education services to the same level as those children who do not have these extra needs"
(Epstein, 2011, p.6)
Here is another look from California concerning school funding inequalities...
Institutional : Legislatio n
1964, Civil Rights Act,Specifically aimed at desegregating schools.
1965, Immigration Reform and Control Act, Changed who immigrated to the United States and had a huge impact on the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States, specifically California.
1965, The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), Increased federalization of education included head start, free lunches, special education students. Huge impact on the public school system.
1971, Serrano Vs. Priest,Ca Supreme Court declared that property tax based school financing was unconstitutional. Funding now came from the state along with increased regulation. Districts such as LA that had large tax bases and often poorer students suffered loss of income. Similar type law suites spread across the US.
1972, Title 9, Added amendment to ESEA on discrimination against women.
1975, Education for All Handicapped Children Act, Stated that all physically challenged students are entitled to a fair and appropriate public education. As the courts have interpreted this program, it has led to a large increase in special education classes. Currently, there fight has moved onto mainstreaming of handicapped children in schools.
1978, Proposition 13 passes, Reduces state income significantly. Starts a tax payer revolt across the United States. Major impact on school funding.
2002 , No Child Left Behind Law, A very complex law that is having a huge impact on schools by requiring certain minimal standards be set. And if the school districts do not meet these standards, they may be taken over by the state.
"Students who most need best teachers and best learning environments rarely have access to either" (Evans, 2005, p. 583)
Narrowing the curriculum -> "narrow view of what constitutes learning" (Darling-Hammond, 2007, p. 3)
leadership traits of principals
Institutional: Racism The Stereotype Threat http://news.columbia.edu/files_columbianews/imce_shared/steele300.png Claude M. Steele talks on NPR about how stereotypes can negatively impact academic performance... http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128082797
Tim Wise speaks further as to the negative impact of racism on education...
Institutional Racism: Beyond Stereotypes
“ Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread and deep-seated, that it is invisible because it is so normal.”
What is institutional racism? Institutional racism can include the adoption of practices that work to the disadvantage of students of color; the unquestioning adoption of middle-class values and expectations for all; or a tacit acceptance of racism by not confronting it head-on (Weissglass, 2001). http://www.projectblackman.com/GreatBlackWomenInHistory.aspx?notablePersonId=253
"Schooling has much less leverage on children than previously thought" (Evans, 2005, p. 584)
Sociocultural : Poverty and school-readiness PBS segment on low-income children's school readiness in Chicago- http://video.pbs.org/video/1869856777/ (click to view) “ Nearly 90% of the variance in students' math scores on some tests can be predicted without knowing anything about their schools; one only needs to know the number of parents in the home, the level of the parents' education, the type of community in which the family lives, and the state's poverty rate” (D. Brandon and G. Robinson (1994),cited in Evans, 2005, p. 584) http://coto2.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/child20poverty.jpg
Sociocultural: Poverty and school-readiness
"Educationally and linguistically, poor children are behind from the beginning" (Merrow, 2011, para 5)
Low-income kindergarteners are full year behind in reading. Statistically, their parents speak approximately
5,000 words per day, vs 20,000 for middle class peers (Evans, 2005, p.585)
Poor children have less access to early childhood education. There are not enough Head Start programs, and they can't afford expensive private preschools (Merrow, 2011, para 7)
Sociocultural: Poverty and school-readiness
"Children growing up in diverse economic and family circumstances do not have equal access to the relationships and environments that will support their early brain and mind development "
(Center for Urban Child Policy, 2009, para 4)
Like most pieces of this puzzle, the answer is complicated. Poor students often don’t have access to good nutrition, either in utero or as children. Poor nutrition can lead to developmental limitations both at birth and as the child is growing. The student who lives in poverty may not have as many cultural enrichment opportunities (such as attending concerts or museums), may not experience as much parental support for education (due to the parents’ own educational limitations or bad experiences with education), and may live in areas with poorly funded schools and equally poor teachers. (Orlich & Gifford, 2006). Many minority schools have an incredibly high teacher turnover rate, with first-year or inexperienced teachers cycling in and out of the system (Ingersoll, 2001). WHY? http://www.magazine13.com/img/lifestyle/smiles-in-poverty/smiles-in-poverty20.jpg “ We can accurately project a child's chances of completing college and her eventual income by knowing only her ZIP code.” (H. Gardner, cited in Evans, 2005, p. 584).
"School's influence is 'marginal', children affected far more by what happens at home" (Jencks cited in Evans, 2005, p.584)
"School's output depends almost entirely on characteristics of entering students" (Jencks cited in Evans, 2005, p.584)
"Parents' involvement affects achievement and eventual success much more powerfully " (Coleman, 1968, p.23)
The ACE study looks at the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on a variety of health and mental health issues. While it is largely beyond the scope of this presentation, the data around ACE implications support that this could have a negative impact on educational performance. For more info see www.acestudy.org
Sociocultural : socioeconomic status (SES)
SES: Parental income, education level, occupation, family structure
positive correlation: SES & cognitive ability (White, 1982)
medium to strong SES-achievement relation
"maternal education level is the single most powerful predictor of a child’s competence" (Ramey, 2004, para 9)
Sociocultural : summer learning gaps
"achievement gaps by family SES (socioeconomic status) and race/ethnicity widen more during the summer months than during the school year"
"Even significant, but partial, remedies such as funding equity or renewed efforts at desegregation, or more challenging curriculum, would not solve fundamental problems of educational inequities without a broader onslaught on white supremacy through a strategic realignment through cohesive and enduring social policy " (Ladson-Billings, 2007, cited in Machtinger p. 3)
A successful rigorous curriculum [that] includes cultural responsiveness to recognize and nurture student strengths, not just understanding them through the lens of the middle class white norm.
School finance reform: progressive funding for high-quality education to low-income districts (Epstein, 2011, p.16)
Better teacher preparation and professional development
Closing comments: Institutional
- belief that schooling is powerful enough to overcome outside factors
-belief that schools can be instruments of social change
"..failures of poor and minority students [are] really failures of educators" -Ron Edmonds, founder of Effective Schools Movement (cited in Evans, 2005, p. 585)
Closing comments : Sociocultural
" decades of evidence that schools reflect society much more than they shape it "
(Evans, 2005, p. 587)
"the problem is less an 'achievement gap' than an educational debt that has accumulated over centuries of denied access to education and employment, reinforced by deepening poverty"
(Ladson-Billings cited in Darling-Hammond, 2007, p.2)
Real Results: "no excuses schools"
Promise Academy in Harlem eliminated the black-white achievement gap with "off the chart" gains of 1.3 and 1.4 standard deviation (vs marginal 0.1- 0.3 with traditional interventions of reduced class sizes, teacher pay and Head Start enrollment)
YES, poor and disorganized home lives influence student beliefs of "what I can achieve; how to control impulses; how to work hard" .... but intervention on all levels can REVERSE the damage done by poverty.
Check out "The Harlem Miracle" .....
The approach works....
We may have found a remedy for the achievement gap.
The tip of the iceberg...
Despite our rather lengthy presentation, none of us feel that we have even begun to scratch the surface of this critical issue. Several issues became clear:
1. The achievement gap is not caused by one simple factor.
2. Gaps in education success are affected by:
There are no easy answers - but solutions are worth the struggle.