Whole Child Blogwatch: Expert Roundtable on the Gap
National Journal's new Education Experts group blog is debating how to close the achievement gap in light of new NAEP figures that show it persisting. Regular readers of this Web site will see some familiar themes.
Whether children learn algebra has everything to do with schools. But which children learn algebra better than other children results from differences both in home background and in schools (with most of the impact from the former).
The Child Trends report concludes its documentation of the nine-month and two-year cognitive gap by recommending an emphasis on policy to address the cognitive shortcomings of disadvantaged children before they are ready for school.
Rothstein goes on to laud programs such as school health centers that provide preventative care and high-quality early childhood programs as promising in reducing the gap. Another blog contributor, NYU professor Pedro Noguera, states in a similar vein that
we can make tremendous progress in closing the gap if we do two things: 1) focus on the conditions of learning, namely the quality of instruction and the coherence, relevance and rigor of the curriculum, and 2) enhance the capacity of schools to meet student needs by increasing the availability of personalized academic support services, afterschool and pre-school programs and, most importantly, by enabling schools to respond to the non-academic social and emotional needs that invariably impact learning.
Read more prominent contributors' responses over at the National Journal, and contribute your own answer here. How can we best close the achievement gap?