Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Huge achievement gaps remain in Michigan high school performance"

“Though Michigan has seen some gains in achievement on the ACT in recent years, we’re still not making major gains in student learning among our high school students,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of the nonpartisan Education Trust-Midwest, a nonprofit organization that works to raise performance and close achievement gaps in Michigan. 
“We still have a lot of work to do, particularly around better supporting teachers to prepare all students to succeed after high school, no matter who they are or where they live,” Arellano said. “In the coming months, our state has some critically important opportunities to do that, including around a new developmental educator evaluation and support system, and the resurrection of college- and career-ready standards.”
Ms. Arellano appears to support a "bigger stick" and tougher standards approach to closing achievement gaps, particularly for the twenty-percent of Michigan students living in poverty conditions (32 percent in our district). Once again, someone in a position of influencing policy, who has never really experienced what it is like to live in a high-poverty school district, has missed the boat on what it will take to solve the achievement gap problem: equitable funding to support extensive, job-embedded teacher training and development, resources and materials, up-to-date buildings and science labs, technology, and smaller class sizes.

I would suggest instead of dusting off old worn-out talking points, folks like Ms. Arellano simply spend time in these traditional urban-poor school classrooms, particularly those with high concentrations of limited English proficiency, and learn what it will really take. Get out from behind your writing desk within your ivory tower and join us.

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