ERIC Number: EJ701151
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Feb-26
Reference Count: N/A
The Great Divide: Racial Achievement Gap Gains Recognition as National Concern, but Solution Continues to Elude Educators, Scholars and Policy-Makers
Black Issues in Higher Education, v21 n1 p22 Feb 2004
Americans know that Black and Latino children, by and large, are not reaching their full potential when it comes to learning and academic performance. But there are exceptions. The question that's being increasingly asked is how and why exceptions can become the norm. In the half century since the Brown v. Board decision, there remains a wide chasm between the academic achievement of Black and Latino children and that of White and Asian American children. Stark facts, drawn from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test data and cited prominently in Drs. Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom's recent book, No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning, reveal that the average Black 12th-grade student's proficiency in basic skills is roughly the same as the average White eighth grader. "Hispanics do only a little better than African Americans. In reading and U.S. history, their NAEP scores in their senior year of high school are a few points above those of Whites in eighth grade. In math and geography, they are few points lower," according to the Thernstroms, a husband-historian and wife-political scientist team who have written extensively about race in America. The coming demographic shift that's expected to make the United States a non-White majority nation around the year 2050 is driving a consensus among policy-makers, scholars and educators to shape school reform in ways to close the racial achievement gap. Observers say the long-term prospects for a healthy national economy and social stability depend on boosting the achievement levels of all students. "It is in everybody's interests to raise (the) academic achievement of Black and Brown kids," says Dr. Ronald Ferguson, a Harvard University Kennedy School economist who has studied the achievement gap.
Descriptors: African American Students, Hispanic American Students, Academic Achievement, Racial Differences, High Risk Students, Culturally Relevant Education, African American Culture, Equal Education
Cox Matthews and Associates, Inc., 10520 Warwick Avenue, Suite B-8, Fairfax, VA 22030-3136. Web site: http://www.blackissues.com.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maryland; New York; North Carolina; Ohio; United States