Archive for the ‘American Enterprise Institute’ Category

Achievement

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

The education world has heard the word “achievement” many times, usually commenting on the current data or survey and explaining the wonder about the “student achievement gap.”

Monday on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, there was conversation with Education Trust’s Amy Wilkins and American Enterprise Institute’s Rick Hess about more questions showing an achievement gap. The discussion did not organize itself around student academic achievement data. Thank goodness since such statements always set off a flurry of comment about testing. Data involving current test scores can be argued for years.

Instead the study looked at income data. Generally speaking (there are always exceptions), students in low-income areas do worse on tests than children raised in high-income areas. Mr. Hess was talking about GIFTed children in low-income areas needing support while Ms. Wilkins looked at all children.

Now, what does such data tell the lay folk? It seems that it has been said for a long time that policies need to be started that help neighborhoods, regions, and states. Unfortunately, that policy alone is not supported by Congress as a whole. Those members don’t have the political will.

As the program went on, speakers applauded teachers who are doing well and reminded the listener that those teachers do well no matter where they are, but in the long term such teachers would do more for low-income children as long as the policy of Congress or the state addressed the same problem. Isn’t happening.

The United States Department of Education is meeting with teachers today, Wednesday, February 15, 2012. It starts by offering $5 billion in grants to revisit teacher policies and is backed by the National Education Association. Who would of thunk it?

What will be said? Reform evaluation for schools and teachers; improve tests-standardized or criterion-referenced; buy technology like in Mooresville, North Carolina schools; promote parents to help with homework; provide places to do homework; decrease dropouts from high schools and promote graduation; raise taxes- suburban areas are affected when students don’t improve; stop doing what doesn’t help-use money granted in useful ways. Re-establish funds for college (Ghana and many other countries pay for students to finish). Quit arguing. See our website for ideas how to succeed without arguing.

All of the above solve part of the problem and have been written about over and over. The low-income versus high-income gap is real. Congress will have to grab political will.

Or ways to make end runs will have to be found. Mr. Hess spent a good amount of time stressing high-achievers who must be allowed to think of the change. Let’s watch and see.