Schools: Achievement Gap or Equity Gap?

Ann Arbor community struggles with multiple perspectives

On May 27 at Mitchell Elementary School, 30 people gathered in a room. The group included a school psychologist, four school board members, a social worker, four school principals, four teachers, a pastor, the president of the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, an education researcher, and representatives of local community-based organizations.

Baskett and Lightfoot

Simone Lightfoot, left, and Susan Baskett at the Beyond the Talk meeting at Mitchell Elementary School on Thursday, May 27. (Photos by the writer.)

Sponsored by Ann Arbor Public Schools board trustees Simone Lightfoot and Susan Baskett, the meeting was a follow-up to an event held in late April at the Peace Neighborhood Center. At that event, the College and Career-Ready (CCR) Review, AAPS superintendent Todd Roberts and his senior instructional staff had presented a subset of data on student achievement in the district, broken down by race.

The breakdown showed an ongoing difference in test scores between whites and other races. The focus of the May 27 Mitchell meeting, called Beyond the Talk, was on brainstorming around what co-facilitators Lightfoot and Baskett called the elements of a plan to address this issue.

Since April’s CCR Review, the community has seen the Lunch Bunch program at Dicken Elementary School – an initiative intended to address this gap – ended when it was found by the district to violate relevant anti-discrimination laws. The story of parents’ complaints about a Lunch Bunch field trip, which was restricted to black students only, had inflamed controversy that gained national attention.

Depending on your perspective, the Beyond the Talk meeting looked either poorly-attended or well-attended. Early in the evening, one participant commented that African Americans were poorly represented at the meeting, and contended that any efforts to close the gap, however the gap was defined, would be unsuccessful as long as the “apathy” continued.

But Lightfoot declared that work gets done by those who show up to do it. And so they dove into their work.

“Current programs are maintaining the gap, not closing it.” “It’s not the kids – it’s the system.” “The system is not broken. It’s working exactly how it was designed to work.” “People are scared to shake up the status quo. It’s like fighting a war on many, many different fronts.”

Thoughts like these were distilled into bullet points by the end of the meeting, as participants discussed what next steps should be taken to address what has commonly been called the “achievement gap.”

Which “Gap” Are We Talking About Here?

The gap can be defined from at least two different perspectives. One way the term has been used in AAPS is to describe the differences in test scores, class enrollment, grade point average (GPA), and other measures of academic success among students of different ethnicities. That is, it’s a gap in “achievement.”

However, it can also be defined as an “opportunity” or even an “equity” gap. That perspective orients the problem away from the students, and shifts responsibility to teachers, administrators, and other school leaders.

Some participants of the May 27 meeting made statements from this perspective: “Teachers come with a deficit mentality”; “There are a lot of inappropriate referrals [of African American students to special education]“; and “There is an invisible wall.” At April’s CCR Review, Larry Simpson, administrator for student intervention and support services, described the specific challenge of helping white females be more capable teachers of black male students.

Ready Review

The College and Career-Ready Review held at the Peace Neighborhood Center on April 29, 2010.

One example of an opportunity gap is the main question brought up by parents at the CCR Review – the lack of students of color who are enrolled in Algebra I in 8th grade. Several parents argued that if students did not take Algebra I by 8th grade, there would be no way to get to Algebra II by their junior year, which would affect performance on college entrance exams.

One parent stated, “Of the 300-400 students taking Algebra I in the district, less than 20 are African American. And of the five African Americans taking it at my son’s middle school, none of them passed the common assessment.” She went on to describe the struggle she went through to get her son placed in the class, as well as frustration at the lack of support for him once he was in it.

Another example came from the May 27 Beyond The Talk meeting, where a participant described an inequitable situation caused by the district’s current attendance boundaries. She described how 95% of the students who attend Burns Park Elementary are sent on to Tappan Middle School, but 5% of them are sent to Scarlett Middle School. Those 5% of students are allowed to enroll at Tappan – but only if they provide their own transportation.

Why do the 5% attend Burns Park in the first place? The reason, said the participant, was to help ensure a more diverse student body in each building. But then when those students’ presence is no longer “required to balance the numbers,” they are separated from their elementary school peers and sent back to their neighborhood school.

Some education scholars have argued that the gap cannot be closed in schools until broader, societal changes begin taking place. The National Study Group for the Affirmative Development of Academic Ability, a working group of 20 education scholars, argues in a 2004 report that “to close achievement gaps, we first must close the experience gap.” The report continues:

This must be done not only through education policy and schooling but also through larger social policies and programs that address the environment in which students learn when they are not at school.

This context was reflected in the comments of one of the meeting participants, who asserted, “There are issues beyond the school system that affect how kids do educationally.”

No matter how it’s defined, this gap is not specific to Ann Arbor. The Campaign for Educational Equity at Columbia University offers a set of “facts and figures” that corroborate how pervasive across the U.S. the gap is.

For AAPS, the following facts characterize the gap:

  • African American students are disproportionately enrolled in special education services, while white and Asian students are underrepresented;
  • The Michigan Merit Exam (MME), taken in 11th grade, shows 80-96% of white students proficient in all subjects, while the range for African American students is 21-68%;
  • 87% of white students are in Algebra II or higher math by 11 grade; for African American students, that number is 44%; and
  • The percentage of 9th grade students with a GPA less than 2.0 is 10.3% for white students, 39.5% for African American students, and 42.5% for Latino or Hispanic students.

In addition, the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) data for reading and math in the district show a smaller percentage of African American students than white students as “proficient.” That difference holds true in every grade tested (grades 3-8). There’s an even larger gap between these groups of students for “advanced proficiency.” For example, in grade 3 reading, 69% of white students are “advanced proficient,” while only 24% of African American students are classified that way. That’s a gap persisting through 8th grade, when the percentages are 64% and 23%, respectively.

In the face of these statistics, board members Simone Lightfoot and Glenn Nelson have both acknowledged the breadth of the problem, and called on AAPS to rise to the occasion and to use its resources to address the gap in a model way.

What Has AAPS Done About This Gap Over the Years?

Working on this issue is not new to the district, as many participants at the May 27 meeting pointed out. The gap has existed for as long as AAPS has kept data. “It hurts to sit here,” said a former AAPS administrator, “and hear that we’ve been working on this for so long.” Other participants expressed frustration that knowing where to go from here is complicated by the fact that it’s difficult to catalog the efforts that have been made over the years.

To get a perspective on the history of work on achievement equity in the district, The Chronicle sat down with Glenn Nelson, the longest-serving member on the board.

According to Nelson, the first public, well-disseminated report on academic achievement in the district, “Key Indicators of Student Progress,” was presented to the school board in 1989 by then-superintendent Richard Benjamin. The report contained data beginning with the 1985-86 school year, when white and African American students together made up 89% of the student body – 72% and 17% respectively.

Now, both of those percentages are smaller, and the AAPS student body has diversified. White students make up only 52% of AAPS students in 2009-10. The 1989 report included comparisons by race of standardized test scores, graduation rates, and rates of participation in extra-curricular activities, but did not include analysis of achievement by special education status, or socio-economic status. On all measures, white students were shown as achieving higher outcomes than “black or brown students,” a term used by Lightfoot at the CCR Review.

Each year since then, an achievement update has been assembled by district administration and presented to the board. By the mid-’90s, Nelson reported, “people were beginning to say, ‘You say you’re working on this, but nothing’s happening,’” so the report added a statewide comparison, as well as a list of achievement initiatives then underway. By 1996, free-and-reduced lunch data were made available for analysis, and the report began to narrow in on academic achievement rather than the broader assessment of participation in both academic and non-academic school activities.

By 1997, Nelson said, a belief was growing throughout the school community that work on closing the gaps in achievement needed to be centralized, and AAPS hired a “director of achievement,” who was charged with leading constructed efforts to close the achievement gap, but who was given no real authority. However, Nelson said, that position ended after 18 months, and instead the district created an “equity ombudsperson,” a one-stop point person anyone in the district could access to report “observations or experiences of harassment, bullying, or inequity.” For whatever reason – Nelson speculated it was budget pressure, as well as a question of the position’s effectiveness – that position was also short-lived.

Nelson described the late 1990s and early 2000s as a time of “turmoil and conflict” in the district, during which the achievement reports “became less informative.” With the hiring of superintendent Todd Roberts in 2006, he said, “the data came back.”

Overall, Nelson summarized the focus of achievement efforts as starting with the idea that, “If you put something on the agenda, it will get done.” When that didn’t appear to work, he continued, programmatic initiatives began, but they were often not well-researched or evaluated. “Then, there was a feeling that there was too much guessing, and that we needed a better basis for cause and effect.” This increasing emphasis on data-driven work, Nelson concluded, has led to the present, district-wide Achievement Team Process (described below) and the commitment to developing personalized learning plans for every student.

What Is AAPS Doing Currently to Address the Gap?

At the CRR Review in April, Sylvia Nesmith, chair of the Black Parents’ Student Support Group (BPSSG), expressed a concern mentioned several times at the May 27 Beyond the Talk meeting as well: “When are we going to start doing and making real what we are talking about?” She argued that the things the district is doing to work on closing the gap are not being well-communicated, and that resources are not being evenly distributed.

The goal of achieving parity in educational outcomes is part of the district’s strategic plan, but the process has been on hold since Phase 1 was completed this past September, and action teams won’t resume meeting until late August at the earliest. At the May 27 meeting, Kathy Scarnecchia, principal at Mitchell, said that, in addition to the strategic plan, the district school improvement plan is being written. She said an inventory of efforts to raise achievement will be part of it. A statement from AAPS put it this way: “All of the efforts [to address the achievement gap] are part of the district school improvement plan and school improvement plans, or come from the strategies in the District’s Strategic Plan.”

During the CCR Review, top-level district administrators enumerated many of the programs which currently exist in the district to address the issue.

Achievement Team Process

First among the interventions mentioned was a new process, the Achievement Team Process (ATP), which was put in place this year. It is an electronic data collection process that can be accessed by all teachers at all schools to create personalized learning plans. As described at the CCR Review by district administrator for elementary instruction Lee Ann Dickinson-Kelley, the ATP is especially useful in tracking which interventions have been tried for each struggling student. It’s a way to address each student’s “specific needs and strengths.” Larry Simpson, administrator for student intervention and support services, added at that same meeting that the ATP is based on responsive intervention, as opposed to the “Student Study Team,” for which a student had to be failing in order to qualify for services. The ATP serves as a step between teacher referral and a student’s evaluation for special education services, Simpson said.

Literacy Interventions

The district has reading interventions in place at each building level –”Reading Intervention” for K-2 students, “System 44″ for students in grades three through five, “Reading Apprenticeship” for high school, and “Read 180″ at all levels. The goal of the district’s “balanced literacy” approach, along with these supplements to classroom instruction, is to reduce the number of years students spend struggling, and to provide opportunities to teach reading to students who are still missing basic knowledge in later grades.

Math Interventions

In response to issues raised at the CCR Review, the district issued a statement saying, “The plan is for all 8th grade students to take Algebra. The next school year will be a planning year with implementation in 2011-12.” At the elementary level, the district has implemented “Fast Math,” which is designed to increase the automaticity of factual recall, and is used to supplement the classroom curriculum, Everyday Math. Dickinson-Kelley also mentioned recent efforts to “trace the Algebra strand” down through the elementary grades to be sure its objectives are met.

Additional Academic Programs

The Summer Learning Institute is a 4-week program intended to minimize the impact of summer regression, and focuses on “high leverage items,” according to Dickinson-Kelley. She also named Title 1 plans embedded in school improvement plans, using Read 180 and System 44 with English language learners, and the World Languages Program as additional ways the district is trying to strengthen instruction for all students.

Joyce Hunter, administrator for middle and high school education, added that she has pushed for common assessments to be used among different sections of Algebra and Biology in order to increase accountability and share best practices. She asserted that more students need to be taking advanced placement and accelerated classes. Other interventions available at the secondary level are the “e2020″ credit recovery program, the options/choices program, summer school, and the Rising Scholars program.

Equity Work

For five years, AAPS has been working with a consultant named Glenn Singleton from Pacific Education Group (PEG). The Chronicle asked school board president Deb Mexicotte and vice president Irene Patalan for their thoughts on the “courageous conversations” held with Singleton.

Mexicotte described the district’s PEG work as part of a broader equity initiative, which also includes instituting policy changes, making efforts to hire more diverse staff, examining curricular materials, and creating a welcoming environment in school buildings for parents. Patalan added that Singleton was very positive about the developments AAPS has made, particularly regarding what he called the “culture of equity” that had been achieved at Skyline. Patalan reported that Singleton “was confident that the work we’re doing will manifest in honestly closing the achievement gap.”

In addition to PEG, Mexicotte named AAPS work in co-founding the Minority Student Achievement Network as proof of a long-term AAPS commitment to achieving equity. MSAN is a coalition of school districts with similar demographics who share ideas about closing the achievement gap.

At the May 12 board meeting, Mexicotte stated, “Creating equitable opportunities and achievement for all students has been very difficult and there have been many false starts and ineffective efforts along the way over the years. Many of our recent efforts … are indeed finally bearing fruit. Our achievement for all students is rising, the gaps are closing, and effective programs and strategies are being supported and embraced. We still have a ways to go before we see full opportunity for achievement for all our students, but we know we are on the right path – and our data bears that out.”

The consultancy has been a source of criticism from some quarters – money spent on consulting could be spent instead on the educational programs that would address the gap. A recent email sent to AAPS superintendent Todd Roberts from Ted Annis – former Ann Arbor Transportation Authority board member who has worked with Citizens for Responsible School Spending – suggests scrapping the consultancy and adopting an approach used at a Brooklyn school.

Next Steps and Who Should Take Them?

At the May 27 Beyond the Talk meeting, one participant commented that African Americans were poorly represented there, and worried about prospects for success if the “apathy” continued. Lightfoot countered by saying “more folk will be on board when they see success.”

Beyond the Talk Mitchell Elementary School

The May 27 Beyond the Talk meeting at Mitchell Elementary School.

The 30 people at the meeting – which included a school psychologist, four school board members, a social worker, four school principals, four teachers, a pastor, the president of the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, an education researcher – also included representatives of local community-based organizations. Among them were the Peace Neighborhood Center, Young People’s Project, Youth Empowerment Project, Literacy Coalition of Washtenaw County, Family Learning Institute and Avalon Housing.

Many of the meeting’s participants were parents of current or former AAPS students, and roughly half of them were themselves products of the district.

The focus of the meeting was on brainstorming around what co-facilitators Lightfoot and Baskett called the elements of a plan to address the gap. After lengthy introductions, the group produced the following main suggestions through almost two hours of discussion:

  • Use the expertise of community-based organizations who have shown success in improving academic outcomes;
  • Support those who step up to take initiative, such as Mike Madison, principal at Dicken Elementary;
  • Demand strong, effective teachers who hold kids to high expectations;
  • Stop social promotion of underachieving students;
  • Focus on elementary learning;
  • Support the African-American Studies class at Pioneer;
  • Help parents, especially from families who transfer into the district;
  • Continue school-based equity and Collaborative Action Research for Equity (CARE) teams;
  • Stay focused on where improvement is possible;
  • “Help black parents make noise”;
  • Ensure equitable responses to white and African American parents by administrators;
  • Add a “number sense” program to the math curriculum;
  • Aim higher than “proficient” for all students;
  • Perform a comprehensive literature review of what’s working to close achievement gaps;
  • Meet the parents;
  • Stop teacher seniority and teacher tenure;
  • Make accountability a condition of teacher tenure;
  • Examine how classes are assigned to teachers, i.e. who gets to teach AP classes?;
  • Ensure equitable participation on school equity teams;
  • Be proactive, not reactive;
  • Examine attendance boundaries for inequity;
  • Describe the district’s Equity Initiative and PEG work;
  • Get PEG work into classrooms;
  • Discover what the barriers are to learning;
  • Help teachers who care, but who don’t know what to do;
  • Use teachers in the district who are doing good work;
  • Create a district-wide plan with milestones and timeframes;
  • Motivate children to have a “learning attitude”;
  • Set high expectations for students; and
  • Bring in the student voice.

Near the end of the meeting, Baskett announced, “We have no magic next step. We thought we would turn this input over to the superintendent, but we’re in it for the long haul … what do you want us to do?”

Many participants expressed an interest in continuing to meet and remain active on this issue.

One participant suggested that Lightfoot and Baskett create a neat list of the suggestions made at the meeting, and that the group meet again to narrow down the focus to three or four things on the list to do now. Another added, “We have to start trying something, collectively.” Lightfoot agreed that the group’s work should fit into the strategic plan, but could also parallel it.

Two participants of the May 27 meeting suggested that any and all future meetings of this group be televised on Ann Arbor’s Community Television Network.


  1. June 4, 2010 at 3:50 pm | permalink

    I have a few thoughts about this story:
    1. I think that Glenn Nelson is mistaken in saying that the first focus on the achievement gap came in 1989. I believe that it came much earlier. I document some of this history in my blog post, A Little History [link] and some of the related posts (I did a series on the 1985 reorganization), but essentially, equity issues were acknowledged by some in the 1940s, and became more prominent in the 1960s. The difference is that, from the 1940s through the mid-1980s, the focus was largely on desegregation and getting additional African-American teachers/principals, on the theory that those two things would address the equity gap.
    So the closing of Jones School (1965) and the multiple attempts to racially balance the schools (at least 1979 and 1985), as well as the appointments of the first African-American principals can all be seen as attempts to address the gap.
    In addition, the Black English case of 1977, which was related to a small group of students at (Martin Luther) King elementary, highlighted many of the equity issues, and had shock waves nationally. [link]

    I think we can draw the conclusion that these activities didn’t work to end the equity gap–although perhaps things would be much worse if they hadn’t been done.

    2. I’m glad that Susan Baskett and Simone Lightfoot are taking the lead on this. Having said that, I don’t know who, or how, this meeting was set up. I do know that I hadn’t heard about it, so I think it was not an “open” meeting. That no doubt had an impact on its attendance. I’m not saying that it “had” to be an open meeting, or a widely-advertised meeting, but it seems that–particularly given the controversy about the lunch bunch–wide buy-in is important. At the budget meetings in the fall, participants were asked if they would like to be on sub-committees related to parts of the strategic plan. I know I volunteered to work on equity issues, but more important than whether I should be in the room, I think it is important to wrap this work into the district’s strategic planning.

    3. I also think it’s really important to acknowledge how HARD it is to do this work. Yes, there are individual locales that have overcome these issues, but there are many more locales that haven’t. We can, and should, try a lot of different tactics, and they won’t all work.

  2. By Glenn Nelson (School Board Member)
    June 4, 2010 at 11:58 pm | permalink

    Schoolsmuse is of course correct that the issues of racial-ethnic segregation and achievement were important well before 1989. Her/his examples are well-chosen.

    My comment in the interview was focused on the narrow issue of “first public, well-disseminated report on academic achievement in the district” as correctly noted in the article. I based my inference on two things. First, the report dated July 28, 1989, includes the following in a cover memo. “Please find attached a report, _Key Indicators of Students Progress_, to be presented to the Board of Education on August 2, 1989. This report is our first attempt to profile the school district using a variety of key indicators of student performance.” Second, I have not located prior reports that published achievement measures by racial-ethnic group within AAPS.

    I am very interested in gaining insights on strategies for closing the achievement gap through an examination of past practices and results — as well as by other means. Just because I am currently not aware of published achievement measures by racial-ethnic group prior to 1985/86 for AAPS does not mean they do not exist. If any reader has earlier data or knows of such data, I would appreciate a reference so I could include them in my thinking.

    Thank you, Chronicle and Jennifer, for providing a place and context for Schoolsmuse, me, and hopefully others to exchange information and views on this very important issue. The issue goes to the heart of our ability as a society to sustain democracy and a decentralized economic system that both work for ALL citizens.

  3. June 5, 2010 at 9:59 am | permalink

    The 1985 report, which makes for very interesting reading, if you can get over the feeling of “deja vu all over again,” can be found online at

    It states in part (p.8, Equity and Excellence Rationale): “On a district wide basis, the academic performance of minorities lags far behind that of the majority population. Minorities are significantly overrepresented in lower curricular paths and significantly underrepresented in advanced courses of study. Disproportionately high numbers of minorities are the subject of disciplinary action. Clear racial and socioeconomic imbalance exists in the district’s schools… Measured by the critical index of progress toward educational opportunity, the Ann Arbor School District, in this regard, is in crisis. The Committee on Excellence recommends a set of broad ranging steps to address the entirety of the problem and to move the district toward the goals of equity and excellence. One part of the recommendations concerns educational programming and the instructional process. The Committee on Excellence firmly believes that the classroom itself is the key to achieving quality education for all students. The recommendations address the needs for immediate attention to clearly identifiable groups of underachieving pupils, reduction in pupil-teacher ratios, enhancing teacher expectations and the level of rigor in all curricula and the enlightened and non-arbitrary use of assessment tools. The other part of the Equity and Excellence recommendation involves racial balance.”

    I think there are very likely similar documents from earlier times as well, I just haven’t had time to look for them.

  4. June 5, 2010 at 10:00 am | permalink

    Sorry, here is the link to the online report: [link]

  5. By ScratchingmyHead
    June 5, 2010 at 8:56 pm | permalink

    In reading Jennifer Coffman’s article on the achievement gap, it seems like digging up a time capsule from 30 years ago. I would suggest to Basket and Lightfoot that they could save a lot of time by researching the school archives on this subject matter and present their findings to the administration as to what the next step should be. This issue has been covered so many times snd in so many ways that there really is not a whole lot more that needs to said about it. There’s an elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about and until that conversation takes place in earnest way, we may as well put the time capsule back in the ground and dig it up 20 years from now. Otherwise, this exercise sounds like election year posturing.

  6. By Steve H
    June 6, 2010 at 7:01 pm | permalink

    To follow up on ‘scratchingmyhead”s refernce to an ‘elephant in the room’, seems like that elephant is subject to, or generating the same confusion that the proverbial elephant did when various blind men grabbed its tail, trunk, ear, leg and so on. Each then decided that it was most like a different creature than the other blind men named.

    And as in the proverb, we can’t see the elephant. We don’t know exactly why there’s a gap.

    So, we need to talk about the different parts of the elephant that we’re aware of—a solution can only come from not just hearing, but *listening* to one another’s views. Such conversations are difficult because they are charged with issues of race, and/or real or presumed agendas. They are nonetheless the route forward.

    I don’t know what those conversations need to lead to—does anyone?—but the idea of the achievement gap continuing is a heartbreaking, agonizing thought. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, this country changed after it saw children attacked by police dogs and blasted by firehoses. There are children subject to a gnawing attack dogs and blasting hoses of low achievement. If we could better see the elephant or that gnawing attack dog, we’d take dramatic steps. We need to talk about that elephant/dog so we can get to where we take action.

  7. June 7, 2010 at 11:53 am | permalink

    An interesting (and discouraging) discussion. It’s striking that in the long list of possible actions, there’s not a single mention of what can be done within families, by families, and for families. Perhaps some resources would be better devoted to strengthening families against the host of negative influences to which they are subjected by the “elephant in the room” dominant culture.

  8. By ScratchingmyHead
    June 7, 2010 at 5:53 pm | permalink

    Steve H. You hit the nail on the head. The discussion about the achievement gap needs to start with a “respectful” dialogue in the African American community about our role and responsibility in seeing that black youth are being academically prepared to face the challenges of living in a knowledge based economy. I use the word “respectful” because all too often, if one has a thought that does not blame white people for the educational failure of our children(you can’t blame white people for Detroit), one often get attacked or discredited by those who confuse posturing with leadership. There is absolutely no reason that black children collectively should be the lowest achievers perennially. Apathy and the inability to engage in mature dialogue and problem solving is one elephant in the room.

    Fred: I did not attend the meeting referenced above in the article but I’ve participated in plenty of them. Like you, I too was struck by the fact that “there’s not a single mention of what can be done within families, by families and for families.” That’s the other elephant in the room. Until the role of the family is strengthened and greater accountability is held, we will continue to to be confronted by too many black youth who contribute to the achievement gap.

    It is downright heartbreaking and frustrating to have a discussion about this issue all the time. This problem can be and must be addressed not by posturing and more “discussion” and more “finger pointing and blaming” but by people who have a clear vision for the community into the future.

    I’m still scratching my head.

  9. June 7, 2010 at 8:37 pm | permalink

    Heartbreaking and frustrating? Yes.
    Still, every year there is a new group of kids who need educating, so there’s no sense in stopping trying.
    I think it would help to try and figure out what worked, and what didn’t, and why.
    And I’m not sure that the schools really want family involvement, even if they give lip service to it. My sense is that a few schools and teachers really want family involvement, and a whole lot more don’t.

  10. By ScratchingmyHead
    June 7, 2010 at 9:30 pm | permalink

    Schoolmuse: You sound very rational to me and I think we could have a mature conversation on this subject matter. I would like to hear what your thoughts are and what approach you would use in addressing the achievement gap in the future. One thing I would like to point out is that judging by the bloggers who responded to the Dickens situation…(and let’s not rule them out as being members of the tea party or some other right wing conservative group), and the passage of Prop 6, sentiments toward the achievement gap has changed significantly from 10 years ago and consequently the approach must change. It is my sense that people are tired of the constant talk about the achievement gap and the huge amounts of money that has been spent addressing it without any significant improvements over time. However, judging from the news article above and the summary of the major points from that meeting, the discussion is the same old same old.

    Still Scratching my Head.