Sunday, September 22, 2013

Achievement Gap or Equity Gap?

P.L. Thomas, Furman University, reposts on the becoming radical blog site on how the achievement gap has become nothing more than a misnomer for the equity gap.

"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. 
"While politicians and the media misrepresent the achievement gap in order to demonize schools and teachers, we have ample evidence that addressing the whole life of the child is the only avenue to closing an achievement gap. 
"...the political, corporate, and media elite—who are using the “achievement gap” refrain to mask their true commitments to maintaining the current status quo of privilege and inequity—reject all evidence-based calls for addressing social forces as using poverty for an excuse. 
"If we start with a solid premise (the lives of children outside of school contribute about 60-80+% of measurable student outcomes), and then implement inequitable in-school policies (testing, labeling, and stratifying students in order to ask less of those labeled most in need), we should expect only one outcome—a persistent achievement gap.
"The political and corporate elite benefit from a constant state of education crisis because that perception allows them to point at the schools and distract us from their own failure to address the conditions of inequity that insure their privilege. 
"People living in poverty and trapped in a cycle of social inequity—specifically children—are not the agents of that inequity. The powerful determine the conditions of our society, and our schools reflect and maintain those conditions. 
"A persistent achievement gap is an accurate indictment of our schools as mechanisms of perpetuating inequity and privilege, but it is a greater indictment of the power of the cultural elite to maintain their privilege while claiming to seek equity." 

Achievement Gap Misnomer for Equity Gap, pt. 1 | the becoming radical

Achievement Gap Misnomer for Equity Gap, pt. 2 | the becoming radical