ERIC Number: EJ711915
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Apr-1
Reference Count: N/A
A Special Section on the Achievement Gap--Closing the Achievement Gap by Detracking
Burris, Carol Corbett; Welner, Kevin G.
Phi Delta Kappan, v86 n8 p594 Apr 2005
The most recent Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools found that 74% of Americans believe that the achievement gap between white students and African American and Hispanic students is primarily due to factors unrelated to the quality of schooling that children receive. This assumption is supported by research dating back four decades to the Coleman Report and its conclusion that schools have little impact on the problem. But is the pessimism of that report justified? Or is it possible for schools to change their practices and thereby have a strongly positive effect on student achievement? The authors of this article have found that when all students--those at the bottom as well as the top of the "gap"--have access to first-class learning opportunities, all students' achievement can rise. They assert achievement follows from opportunities and the persistent practice of tracking denies a range of opportunities to large numbers of students. That a disproportionate number of these students are minorities is one of the underlying reasons that the achievement gap has remained so persistent. The authors describe how a diverse suburban district in New York narrowed the gap by offering its high-track curriculum to all students. (Contains 16 endnotes.)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Equal Education, White Students, Heterogeneous Grouping, Track System (Education), High Schools, Equal Education, Hispanic American Students, African American Students
Phi Delta Kappa International, Inc., 408 N. Union St., P.O. Box 789, Bloomington, IN 47402-0789. Web site: http://www.pdkintl.org.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York