Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Achievement gap points to ineffectiveness of decades of reforms | EdSource

Achievement gap points to ineffectiveness of decades of reforms | EdSource:

Achievement gap points to ineffectiveness of decades of reforms

The vast achievement gaps in the Smarter Balanced test scores released this month point to the ineffectiveness of reforms over the past 15 years or more that were intended to close those gaps, raising the question of whether a new set of reforms being implemented in California are more likely to succeed.
Those new reforms range from the Common Core standards to the Local Control Funding Formula, which allocates additional funds for high-needs children, grants local districts more decision-making powers, creates a more comprehensive accountability system that focuses on deeper learning skills, and moves to a model that emphasizes support for schools and teachers rather than imposing punishment or sanctions.
Only 28 percent of African-Americans and 32 percent of Latinos who took the test in California met or exceeded standards on the English language arts section of the Smarter Balanced tests, which students took for the first time this spring. By comparison, 61 percent of whites and 72 percent of Asian-Americans met or exceeded standards in English language arts. The differences in math are even wider. Only 16 percent of African-Americans and 21 percent of Latinos met or exceeded the standard in math, compared with 59 percent of whites and 69 percent of Asian-Americans.


These differences come against the backdrop of the fiercest national conversation on the causes  and effects  of racial and ethnic inequality that has occurred at any time since the Civil Rights Movement.
The fact that the disparity is so wide in a “blue state” like California is even more troubling than in states where educational and political leaders have been less committed to serving students from diverse backgrounds. In addition, during the past two decades, California has beaten back the anti-immigrant sentiments surging through other states, especially against Spanish-speaking immigrants. Latinos now wield considerable political clout in the state, and have helped drive education reforms here.
The last time there was a substantial narrowing of the gap in the U.S. was from the early 1970s to the late 1980s, as measured on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, often referred to as “the nation’s report card.” A  2010 report by the Educational Testing Achievement gap points to ineffectiveness of decades of reforms | EdSource: