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Mon Jan 28, 2013, 07:20 AM

at some schools, achievement lags behind opportunity {rich vs poor schools}

http://www.nationofchange.org/some-schools-achievement-lags-behind-opportunity-1359298674

Some education experts say the opportunity to take advanced classes is critical to helping low-income students succeed later in life.

But opportunity doesn’t always equal achievement. Our new analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that, in some states, Advanced Placement exam passing rates remain lower in schools with more poor students.

“You can’t snap your fingers and change that overnight,” said Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado. “Wealthy kids have much richer opportunities.”

In our 2011 project, “The Opportunity Gap,” we looked at differences in access to advanced classes between schools with wealthy students and schools with poor students. Some states, such as Florida, have worked to get more students into advanced programs.

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Reply at some schools, achievement lags behind opportunity {rich vs poor schools} (Original post)
xchrom Jan 2013 OP
knitter4democracy Jan 2013 #1
LWolf Jan 2013 #2

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 07:31 AM

1. I teach AP English in a school with 90% free and reduced lunch.

It's not just opportunity that has to be provided but K-12 curriculum alignment, money for field trips to enrich because I have students who don't know the basics and have never had the opportunity to see a play in person, high standards all along, and lots of extra explaining and support.

We offer three AP classes with more in the works, but one thing the three of us have noticed is that we end up having to backtrack a lot and fill in blanks that wouldn't be there in schools with richer, better-off students. I've taught AP in other schools, and I'm always amazed at what I have to re-teach. I found out on Friday that the last time my Honors 9th graders remember really reading poetry was 3rd grade, so how are they supposed to understand why Shakespearean sonnets are so amazing? They don't know what poetry is!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:09 AM

2. Achievement lags

because kindergarteners don't all start on the same starting line.

From birth through age 4-5, while the brain is more actively forming neural networks, and pruning those networks that don't get used. The more stimulating a child's physical and social environment, the more connections formed and used.

There really is a big difference between the brains of those from more and less enriched environments. The brain continues to develop, although not at the same rate, giving those starting "behind" a chance to develop further; however, the brains of those "ahead" are still developing as well. Which is why, intellectually and academically, they often don't catch up.

To really affect that gap, we need things like:

1. A safety net that allows parents to provide an adequate environment and attention from birth forward.
2. Parent education on what constitutes an appropriately rich environment from birth forward.
3. Universal preschools offering the kind of environment and stimulation that sets the brain up for later academic success.

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