Achievement/Skills Gap

Here you will find a variety of reports and articles focusing on achievement gap issues that continue to be found in our public education system.  Inclusion here does not indicate Georgia Partnership support of particular positions.

Opinion: Holding poor children accountable for a test score is unfair
Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Maureen Downey's 'Get Schooled' blog

This is a long piece by a scientist on the external factors that undermine student learning. I am increasingly realizing our mantra to poor kids can’t simply be, “Work harder and you will overcome all the obstacles in your path and succeed.” (April 2015)

The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing 2015 and Beyond
Deloitte/Manufacturing Institute

It's not easy for manufacturing to attract the younger, skilled workers that it needs. We need to focus on both the educational pipeline and public perceptions. Related story. (April 2015)

Increasing Education:  What It Will and Will Not Do for Earnings and Earning Inequality
The Hamilton Project

We have empirically simulated what would happen to the distribution of earnings if one out of every ten men aged 25–64 who did not have a bachelor’s degree were to instantly obtain one—a sizeable increase in college attainment. Related story. (April 2015)

Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities - A Report Card on State Support for Academically Talented Low-Income Students
Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

This report says high-achieving students from low-income households can’t rely on resilience alone to see them through. The report finds that high-achieving students lag behind their wealthier peers, creating a potential gap. Related story. (April 2015)

The Achievement Gap In High School Graduation Rates Appears To Be Narrowing
Huffington Post

Even though significantly more white and Asian/Pacific Islander students are graduating from high school than their Hispanic, black and American Indian peers, achievement gaps in this area still appear to be closing. Related article. (March 2015)

The Numbers Add Up To This: Less And Less Opportunity For Poor Kids
NPR

In this country, all children are supposed to have a shot at success — a chance to jump "from rags to riches" in one generation. Even if riches remain out of reach, then the belief has been that every hard-working American should be able to go from poverty to the middle class. A study will be released soon turning up evidence that the one-generation leap is getting harder to accomplish in an economy so tied to education, technological know-how and networking. (March 2015)

Are We Closing the School Discipline Gap?
The Civil Rights Project - UCLA

The main body of this report documents gross disparities in the use of out-of-school suspension experienced by students with disabilities and those from historically disadvantaged racial, ethnic, and gender subgroups.  Related story. (February 2015)

Kids Count - Better Way to Measure Poverty
Annie E. Casey Foundation

The federal government's official poverty measure, created in the 1960s, fails to illustrate the effect of programs designed to help families succeed.  This data snapshot highlights the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which captures the effect of safety-net programs and tax policies on families. Introduction page. (February 2015)

Closing the Achievement Gap - Four States' Efforts
Education Commission of the States

This report highlights the efforts of four states -- Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington and Wisconsin -- to reduce their achievement gaps through state-level task forces or commissions and other legislative action. (January 2015)

Closing the Expectations Gap
Achieve

This ninth annual report shows the progress that states have made in advancing college and career readiness while also revealing that much work remains to be done to ensure that all students are academically prepared to succeed in college and careers after high school.  Press release. (January 2015) 

U.S. Education: Still Separate and Unequal
U.S. News and World Report

The U.S. spends significantly more on education than other OECD countries. In 2010, the U.S. spent 39 percent more per full-time student for elementary and secondary education than the average for other countries.  What about the outcomes? (January 2015)

An International Look at the Single-Parent Family
Education Next

When Daniel Patrick Moynihan raised the issue of family structure half a century ago, his concern was the increase in black families headed by women. Since then, the share of children raised in single-parent families in the United States has grown across racial and ethnic groups. Related story. (January 2015)

Report Card:  How the Digital Skills Gap is Failing Teachers and Students -- And What We Can Do About It
Grovo

There is a two-pronged, and potentially two phase, digital skills gap.  The first is occurring right now; the full impact of the second may not been seen for several tears. Both are critically important. (December 2014)

Closing America's Skills Gap
Business Roundtable/Change the Equation

The skills gap is a serious challenge for America’s businesses and our entire economy.  If our businesses and economy are going to compete and succeed, then we must address this crisis. Introduction. More. Related story. (December 2014)

Learning English in Rural America
Education Commission of the States (ECS)

As English language learners arrived in waves, many rural schools and districts quickly went for low-incidence to high-incidence of ELLs. Here is how rural areas have responded. (November 2014)

Making Sure All Children matter:  Getting School Accountability Signal Right
Education Trust

School accountability systems have the potential to be a powerful tool to help close the long-standing gaps in achievement that separate low-income students and students of color from their peers. Here's how. (October 2014)

The Power of the Pygmalion Effect - Expectations Have a Deep Influence on Student Performance
Center for American Progress

Students from low-income families and students of color may perform poorly in school because their teachers simply do not believe in them. Researchers found that students whose teachers expected them to graduate from college were significantly more likely to do so. Related stories:  Huffington Post and educationpost. (October 2014)

Music Lessons Enhance Brain Function in Disadvantaged Kids
Pacific Standard

There is much evidence that poverty, and the chronic stress it creates, hinders the development of young brains. However, new research finds one important aspect of neural functioning is gradually strengthened when underprivileged children engage in a challenging but fun activity: Music lessons. (September 2014)

Closing the Race Gap:  Alleviating Young African American Unemployed Through Education
Young Invincibles

This report shows yet another way African Americans face systematic disadvantage on the job market. Related story. (August 2014)

Mother's Education and Children's Outcomes:  How Dual-Generation Programs Offer Increased Opportunities for America's Families
Foundation for Child Development

Early childhood programs are one thing and education for adults another, but rarely do the two go hand-in-hand. However, disparities between children whose mothers had not graduated from high school and those whose mothers had a college degree are enormous. (July 2014)

Why Rural Matters 2013-2014 - The Condition of Rural Education in the 50 States
The Rural School and Community Trust

This is the seventh in a series of biennial reports analyzing the contexts and conditions of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the need for policymakers to address rural education issues in their respective states. Introduction. (May 2014)

Looking at the Best Teachers and Who They Teach
Center for American Progress

This report studies schools in Massachusetts and Louisiana and comes to the conclusion that many of the students who need the best teachers most - poor students and students of color - are least likely to get them. Related storyIntroduction. (April 2014)

Evidence mounting that poverty causes lasting physical and mental health problems for children
Pittsburgh Gazette

Sheila Good faced the decision most mothers dread. Should she spend more time raising her son or earning a paycheck? Should she be a better mom or a better provider? (November 2013)
Growing income achievement gap overshadows race
Hechinger Report

On a weekday afternoon in July, Jessica Klaitman pulled her 16-month-old daughter Hannah out of a stroller in the lobby of the New York Kids Club, a 10,000 square-foot “child-enrichment center” with four classrooms, a dance studio, and gym space in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. (August 2013)

AP-NORC Poll: Demographics divide views of schools
Associated Press

Minority and low-income parents are more likely to see serious problems in their schools - from low expectations to bullying to out-of-date technology and textbooks - than those who are affluent or white, according to a recent AP-NORC survey. (August 2013)

Poverty and Education: Finding the Way Forward
ETS

Of the 35 richest countries, the U.S. has the second highest child poverty rate. Twenty-two percent of American children are in poverty, and while education has long been touted as the great equalizer, that is more myth than reality. (August 2013)

School-Based Mentoring Programs: Using Volunteers to Improve the Outcomes of Underserved Students
mdrc

Do school-based mentoring programs work? Yes, if a mentorship pair forms a relationship that the student rates as "somewhat close" or better. (August 2013)

The State of Education for Native Students
Education Trust

Native American students have not shared in the recent rise in educational performance achieved by African Americans and Latinos. Related story. (August 2013)

Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Achievement for Low-Income Students and Students of Color
Education Trust

While gaps between student groups have narrowed over time at the below basic level of performance, gaps at the advanced level have widened. And among higher income groups, gap-widening between white students and students of color is more pronounced. Introduction. Related story (AJC). Related story (Ed Week). (May 2013)

Out of School and Off Track:  The Overuse of Suspensions in American Middle and High Schools
The Civil Rights Project - UCLA

In this first of a kind breakdown of data from over 26,000 U.S. middle and high schools, CRP researchers estimate that well over two million students were suspended during the 2009-2010 academic year. Related story. (March 2013)

At a Crossroads:  A Comprehensive Look at How African-American Youth Fare in Los Angeles County Schools
Education Trust - West

African-American students in Los Angeles County demonstrate significant learning gaps by 2nd grade; those gaps widen with age and lead to the highest school dropout rate among all races (ECS),  Related storyReport introduction. (February 2013)

Do Federally Assisted Households Have Access to High Performing Public Schools
Poverty & Race Research Issue Council

Government agencies are working hard to improve resources and outcomes in low income, racially isolated communities and schools. The effort aims at expanding low income families’ access to racially and economically integrated schools and communities. (December 2012)

Inseparable Imperatives:  Equity in Education and the Future of the American Economy
Alliance for Excellent Education 

Report's focus: America cannot afford to ignore the gaps in educational achievement and high school graduation rates.  Failing to close those gaps will have dire consequences for the American economy.  Related story. (December 2012)

Failure Is Not an Option!
Public Agenda

How principals, teachers, students and teachers from Ohio's high achieving, high-poverty schools explain their success. Related. (November 2012)

Can Academic Standards Boost Literacy and Close the Achievement Gap?
The Future of Children – Princeton – Brookings

This policy brief examines the ability of standards to boost literacy and close the achievement gap. The authors assert that Common Core State Standards are one part of solving the nation's literacy problem and will need to be paired with other initiatives. (October 2012)

The Urgency of Now – The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males 2012
Schott Foundation

This report focuses on Black male graduation rates 2009-2010. Related story. (September 2012)

Housing Costs, Zoning, and Access to High-Scoring Schools
Brookings

Nationwide, the average low-income student attends a school that scores at the 42nd percentile on state exams, while the average middle/high-income student attends a school that scores at the 61st percentile on state exams. This school test-score gap is even wider between black and Latino students and white students. Relating story. (April 2012)

College Degree Gap Widens
Daily Yonder

In many ways, rural America has caught up with the rest of the U.S. in terms of educational achievement. But over the past 40 years, the gap in the percentage of adults with college degrees has increased between urban and rural counties. (April 2012)