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More than Scores to Achieve Equality

meghan.sanchez's picture

How can the government demand a certain score on a test from all students when closing the achievement gap isn't based on these arbitrary test scores? There are other more pressing factors that relate to this educational achievement gap that these tests will never solve. 

"The United States should not use one hand to blame the schools for inadequately serving disadvantaged children when its social policies have helped create these disadvantages - especially income disadvantages - with the other hand." (City Kids, City Schools, p.225)

Some of the other issues at hand include a lack of resources for certain schools, which is made more apparent in the article of Racial Bias in Pennsylvania's Funding of Public Schools. The fact that Pennsylvania doesn't even have a formula in place to determine how money is distributed amongst schools and school districts is alarming. While the article says that the "state appropriately provides more funding per student to poorer districts than richer ones", there is a racial bias that exists in funding (Power Philadelphia, p.1) This system gives predominantly white disctricts more money than those that contain more minority students below the poverty line. 

This system seems to perpetuate itself and continues to give less to minority students. It also doesn't address the other issues at hand that effect equality of students such as schoold funding, health insurance, employment, availability of job opportunities, etc.


jccohen's picture


Are the "other more pressing factors that relate to this educational achievement gap that these tests will never solve" the kinds of things Ladson-Billings refers to as the "education debt," or are you talking about other kinds of knowledge and skills that are more useful to young people, or...?

Your observation that "the system seems to perpetuate itself" is on target, and gets at some of the difficulty of interrupting and changing the ways we do education, and the "business" of education.  In PA, the new governor has appointed a committee to work on a fair funding formula, for example, so this is one way to challenge and interrupt what can seem like a self-reproducing cycle of inequities...