Monday, March 9, 2009

Blame for School Achievement Gap Misplaced

Interesting report released today from the Education and the Public Interest Center from CU and the Education Policy Research Unit from ASU.

Blame for School Achievement Gap Misplaced
March 9, 2009
New policy report explains how poverty's effects are the real culprit
Contact: David Berliner -- (480) 861-0484; berliner@asu.eduKevin Welner -- (303) 492-8370;
TEMPE, Ariz. and BOULDER, Colo., March 9, 2009 - A new report issues a fundamental challenge to established education policies that were promoted by the Bush administration and are likely to be continued by the Obama administration. These policies are based on a belief that public schools should shoulder the blame for the "achievement gap" between poor and minority students and the rest of the student population. But the new policy report argues that out-of-school factors are the real culprit--and that if those factors are not addressed, it will be impossible for schools to meet the demands made of them.
"Schools are told to fix problems that largely lie outside their zone of influence," says David Berliner, Regents Professor of Education at Arizona State University, and author of the report, Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success. The report is jointly published by the Education Policy Research Unit (EPRU) of ASU and the Education and the Public Interest Center (EPIC) at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Find David Berliner's report, Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success, on the web at:
CONTACT:David Berliner, Regents Professor of EducationArizona State University(480)
Kevin Welner, Professor and DirectorEducation and the Public Interest CenterUniversity of Colorado at Boulder(303)


Unknown said...

So Kim, I thought the teachers were one of the most important factors impacting student achievement. Am I wrong? I thought we all agreed that great teachers were critical though we may not agree on how to get and support the best teachers.

By the way, I also think we need to pay for universal health care but that doesn't change the fact that schools have biggest impact on a student's life outside of their parents. Berliner's and Rothstien's argument that we need good rap around service do not change the fact that schools are very important. Even they admit that schools account for something like a third of the impact.

If you follow their argument that teachers and schools are not that important, maybe we should move into the health care business.

Kim Ursetta, NBCT said...

Van, Van, Van... come on! Teachers are the most important factor in increasing student achievement outside of the home. DCTA has been quoting this research, from NCTAF since it came out in the late 90s. To me, this article talks about something that DCTA believes to be true: Parents and teachers working together make a difference in student achievement. We published this recommendation in our white paper "Promoting School Success".

Teachers cannot do it alone. This article emphasizes that wrap around services are also important factors in increasing achievement. Teachers are not the sole impact on closing the gaps.

p.s. Universal healthcare would be great also.