As educators we must be focused on helping our students overcome barriers to their success.
In his article, Mr. Lynch asserts that we must:
Recognize that it is a problem. When people approach the achievement gap with a “to each his own” attitude, they neglect the fact that there is a steep economic and societal cost when students perform poorly in K-12 classrooms.
Seek out focused efforts. It is not enough to leave change up to individual families and parents. That answers need to come inside the classroom, either during normal school hours or in special programs afterwards.
Be relentless. This point ties together the thoughts of the first two. For educators to really make an impact, they have to see the bigger-picture negative implications of the achievement gap. The second step is to go beyond empty rhetoric and put plans in place that will facilitate change – and then to stick with them. Instead of ignoring these students and rewarding the ones that show the most interest or promise, educators should try even harder to reach at-risk or poor-performing kids. That will likely mean a different approach and maybe even special programs but it is worth the effort in order to get closer to equalizing student performance.
Closing the Achievement Gap is more about our approach as educators than the students we serve. Ultimately, our focus should be on taking every possible step to meet their individual needs.