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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Closing achievement gaps 'still the right goal'



From the latest Time column from Andy Rotherham (the guy behind Eduwonk):

No matter how many people try to argue that focusing on closing achievement gaps is a bad idea, it’s not. It’s still the right goal. And not merely for social reasons — although the crushed dreams, diminished opportunities, and the violence that today’s educational system does to communities and any semblance of equality should not be underestimated. Closing the gap is the right goal for economic reasons, too.

The consulting firm McKinsey & Company estimates that closing the racial and ethnic achievement gaps would increase national gross domestic product by hundreds of billions of dollars, or 2% to 4% of our overall GDP. The cost of not addressing these gaps will obviously rise as America’s Hispanic population grows ...

... So don’t be fooled by claims that gap closers don’t care about high-achieving students or assume these kids can just take care of themselves. Gap-closing proponents also favor gifted-education and similar programs, in part because poor and minority students are shortchanged on the high end as well. At some level, of course, there are tradeoffs — a dollar can’t be spent in two places. But gap closers’ main argument is that the enormous benefits of creating a more equitable society outweigh smaller costs of getting us there.

[Last modified: Friday, October 28, 2011 3:28pm]


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