We opened the new ETS report, The Black-White Achievement Gap: When Progress Stopped, assuming that it had something new to say about this persistent problem. Perhaps too optimistically we hoped it might address curriculum, and even student background knowledge development, at least as areas of interest, if not as possible elements of a solution.
Instead ETS has produced a predictable info dump on every topic that is believed to be related to student achievement except for what children are taught. These topics are familiar: poverty, fatherlessness, nutrition, technology access, etc. You can finish the list.
Is it possible that ETS and the many other parties interested in finding a solution to the gap have been looking in the wrong places all along? And that a look into the content of what black and white (and poor and wealthy) children are being taught may be an area worthy of research? If there is a difference in the content of what children of different races and levels of wealth are being taught in America, isn’t that not only important information for investigators, but a real cause for concern among parents and others? Wouldn’t such a difference, fundamentally, represent what is meant when we talk about a child being left behind?
At Common Core we’re confident that every student will succeed if they are provided with a rigorous, content-rich curriculum in the liberal arts and sciences. Yes, it would be marvelous if every student lived in a wealthy, two-parent family, ate three square meals each day, and had his own computer. But the fact that a student may not have an ideal home life does not negate his ability learn.
Lynne Munson and Skye Frontier