Teaching Our Way to Success: Equal Outcomes in Education Are Non-Negotiable. Every Statistic Bandied about in the Name of Reform Represents a Child's Life

By Karns, Michelle | Leadership, May-June 2010 | Go to article overview

Teaching Our Way to Success: Equal Outcomes in Education Are Non-Negotiable. Every Statistic Bandied about in the Name of Reform Represents a Child's Life


Karns, Michelle, Leadership


Of one thing I am absolutely certain: it's seldom the kids. Success or failure with diverse populations is the direct result of the learning environments, level of instruction, effort and focus. The more strategic and responsive we are to our students, the more congruent our outcomes will be with equity goals.

Equal outcomes in education are nonnegotiable; it is the student's civil right. Every statistic bandied about in the name of educational reform represents a child's life. When we talk about the achievement gap, we are telling a child's story about failure to thrive in school.

There are many reasons students fail. The stories that teachers confront regularly include abuse, neglect and a chronic absence of care-giving. The social emotional conditions in a child's life may contribute to his/her academic difficulties, but they are not the reason for the child's failure. Many factors contribute: the teacher's inability to reach the child, limited background knowledge, or the lack of literate role models.

In spite of personal circumstances, current legislation requires that we educate every child. No law makes it happen; NCLB can't make people choose to do the right thing. We have to attract people into "right" actions; mandates are not sufficient.

How California compares

Here are some examples of children in California's schools. Will we succeed with them? Can we change the trajectory of their current experience?

Sixth grader Jorge has always attended California schools. He is an English learner and is currently three years below grade level in English reading fluency and comprehension. Nearly 60 percent of the English learners in California are stuck at the intermediate level on the California English Language Development Test.

Eddie's parents are not literate; he is currently in eighth grade and has been socially promoted. He is a non-reader. Almost every state does significantly better in reading than California (NCES, National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2007).

Maria is in eighth grade. She currently performs behind her Latino peers in other states (NCES, 2007). Her African American friend, Aisha, also lags behind black students in other states in reading performance (The Education Trust-West, 2007). Economically disadvantaged youth in other states perform better than our students. White students in California trail behind white students in other states (Betlach, 2009).

Mind the gap

Closing the achievement gap is viewed as the primary task of school reform throughout the country. The U.S. Department of Education states, "The achievement gap is the difference in academic performance between ethnic groups."

California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell broadens the definition, maintaining that the gap "is the disparity between white students and other ethnic groups, between English learners and native English speakers, the economically disadvantaged and the non-disadvantaged, and students with disabilities as compared to students without."

Using our 2007 California Standards Test fourth-grade English language arts data as an index, it is clear that not all fourth graders have the same learning experience. Of our black and Latino students, approximately 38 percent met proficiency objectives in 2007 (California Department of Education) while about 70 percent of the Asian and white students scored proficient. Economically disadvantaged youth are 50 percent less likely to be proficient than their more advantaged peers (The Education Trust-West, 2007).

The achievement-expectation gap signals compromised future opportunities for students and looks biased against certain demographic groups. The gap is often the consequence of non-differentiated teaching, limited expectations, and problems in continuity of curriculum delivery.

Since we are in a new phase of educational expectations, equal access no longer suffices as the goal; diverse groups deserve equal outcomes. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Teaching Our Way to Success: Equal Outcomes in Education Are Non-Negotiable. Every Statistic Bandied about in the Name of Reform Represents a Child's Life
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.