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Student Achievement Essay

1562 words - 7 pages

Each year, children are failing in school. As the years progress, the number of children failing keep rising. In "Closing the Achievement Gap", Kati Haycock, the Director of the Education Trust at the American Association for Higher Education, states " Between 1970 and 1988, the achievement gap between African American and white students was cut in half, and the gap separating Latinos and whites declined by one-third. That progress came to a halt around 1988, however, and since that time, the gaps have widened" (6). As a result, people are doing studies and have come up with several theories that exist on how to address the achievement gap. These ideas have been ...view middle of the document...

In "Race and the Achievement Gap", he uses a study from the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations to show that African Americans were 4.5 times less likely to be found in schools ranked low in math and reading (Berlak 2). He claims due to those statistics that students of color are not opted to have the "gifted and talented" school programs, which affects both the test score gap and the gap in academic performance (Berlak 2). Amy L. Wax, Professor of Law for The University of Virginia School of Law, on the other hand, shows a different cause in failure. She does not share the same views with Steele or Berlak. In her article, "The Threat in the Air", she states, "We resist confronting the social and behavioral causes of short falls in academic performance. Stark differences between groups in marriage rates, family stability, paternal involvement, parenting practices and discipline, and other habits and values, are associated with children's disparate academic success." (Wax 2). Wax also uses the idea that causes for failures are "emotional", rather than undeveloped learning (Wax 2). Even though Steele, Berlak, and Wax have touched on the causes, there are consequences that always follow.
Consequences for Students Why Are Not Achieving
Consequences are a major part of today's society. Every problem/ solution has a consequence that will follow. In review of the achievement gap, there are some key consequences. Low self esteem is a very big problem that students face. The achievement gap makes it even worse on students. Berlak uses a quote from an African-American high school student. "Well we are suppose to be stupid…we perform poorly in school ‘cause we all have it thought up in our heads we're suppose to be dumb so we might as well go ahead and be dumb…" (Berlak 4). A consequence that Steele uses would be his term disidentification. He states that disidentification is "pain lessened by ceasing to identify with the part of life in which the pain occurs" ("Thin Ice 46). Steele uses disidentification in correlation to stereotype threat by saying that when stereotype threat affects school life, disidentification occurs and it becomes a high price for the student to pay. In looking closer at a particular consequence of students dropping out, Rod Paige uses his effect in relation to his solution of "accountability".
Before Rod Paige, a big believer in "accountability" became U.S. Secretary of Education he was the School Superintendent for Houston. While holding the Superintendent position, Paige put into action a policy that held principles accountable for how well their students achieved in school. He put this plan into action because he believed that he could lower the drop out rates for Houston. In the year between 2001 and 2002, Houston school district reported that their dropout rate went down to an amazing 1.5 percent ("Miracle" 2). In seeing the results Paige was having on Houston, George W. Bush after being elected...

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