Creating the Opportunity to Learn: Moving from Research to Practice to Close the Achievement Gap

Creating the Opportunity to Learn: Moving from Research to Practice to Close the Achievement Gap

Creating the Opportunity to Learn: Moving from Research to Practice to Close the Achievement Gap

Creating the Opportunity to Learn: Moving from Research to Practice to Close the Achievement Gap

Synopsis

"Unless we believe that those who have more are inherently superior to those who have less, we should be troubled by the fact that patterns of achievement are often fairly predictable, particularly with respect to students' race and class."

In Creating the Opportunity to Learn, Wade Boykin and Pedro Noguera help navigate the turbid waters of evidence-based methodologies and chart a course toward closing (and eliminating) the academic achievement gap. Turning a critical eye to current and recent research, the authors present a comprehensive view of the achievement gap and advocate for strategies that contribute to the success of all children.

Boykin and Noguera maintain that it is possible to close the achievement gap by abandoning failed strategies, learning from successful schools, and simply doing more of what the research shows is most effective. Success is founded on equity, but equity involves more than simply ensuring students have equal access to education; equity also entails a focus on outcomes and results.

If we want to bring about significant improvements in those outcomes, we have to do more to address the context in which learning takes place. In short, we must create schools where a child's race or class is no longer a predictor for how well he or she might perform.

Excerpt

It is abundantly clear that students from certain ethnic groups, most prominently African Americans and Latinos, do not fare well in U.S. schools. It is widely documented that Black and Latino students perform substantially less well than their White counterparts (Hollins, King, &; Hayman, 1994; Jencks &; Phillips, 1998; King, 2005). This concern cries out for immediate, sustained, and profound attention. Until our schools do a far better job of educating Black and Latino students, to the very highest levels of achievement, our society will fail to tap a vast reservoir of human talent that we will greatly desire—indeed, require—in the years and decades ahead.

As the new century began, with the growing recognition in educational, business, and political spheres that the underachievement of minority students remained a vexing problem, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was enacted. In its wake, more federal pressure was put on schools and school systems to raise achievement levels for all children, but particularly for children in groups that perform at levels notably below their mainstream counterparts. Nevertheless, the achievement gap today remains virtually unchanged.

A large part of the problem lies in the fact that many educators do not understand what it means to engage in educational practices that promote equity. Equity involves more than simply ensuring that children have equal . . .

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