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ERIC Number: EJ835625
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 37
ISSN: ISSN-1946-7109
A Cultural Approach to Establishing Equity and Closing the Educational Achievement Gap
Portes, Pedro R.
Penn GSE Perspectives on Urban Education, v5 n2 Spr 2008
Addressing the underdevelopment awaiting most children belonging to historically disparaged groups in the uneven playing field of public education remains--the top problem in advancing equity and excellence in education. Clearly, excellence in the educational system requires equity in opportunities to learn regardless of children's background or status. The achievement gap remains as wide today as when it was first documented by norm-referenced, learning and teaching outcomes (e.g., National Assessment of Educational Progress--NAEP scores by ethnicity) among mounting evidence that in effect reveal an average differential of four grade levels. There is a need for a broader kind of research inquiry that can serve to organize a knowledge base for policy relevant to closing the achievement gap. Rather than rely on single barrel solutions such as charter schools or modifying other people's childrearing patterns and "one-shot" programs, educational programs that span across home and schools can provide greater cultural continuity that integrate intense meaningful learning experiences for students placed at risk by overcompensating for the current "teaching to the test" basic drills. In this article, the author contends that a socio-cultural solution is needed to restructure society through education so that group-based inequality is not the signature byproduct of the current educational system. Equity in education thus requires the first step of guaranteeing all children's right to learn at grade level as a basic first step in striving toward excellence in education. Once the latter is achieved, the severe under-representation of students from some groups in college can finally become addressed in a sincere and lasting fashion. (Contains 2 notes.)
University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. 3700 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A