"WE MUST REJECT THE IDEOLOGY OF THE "ACHIEVEMENT GAP" THAT ABSOLVES ADULTS OF THEIR RESPONSIBILITY AND IMPLIES STUDENT CULPABILITY IN CONTINUED UNDER-PERFORMANCE. THE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT GAP IS MERELY THE EFFECT OF A MUCH LARGER AND MORE DEBILITATING CHASM: THE EDUCATOR ACHIEVEMENT GAP. WE MUST ERASE THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE TYPE OF TEACHERS WE ARE, AND THE TYPE OF TEACHERS THEY NEED US TO BE."
http://roomd2.blogspot.com/ by TMAO
One of my fellow What If? Diversity bloggers posed the question of what we should do about closing the achievement gap in our schools—address diversity or poverty. The quote above embodies my feelings on this topic.
If we look at education like we do business, the business of education is failing one of its most rapidly growing clientele base--children of color. When businesses are not performing well, they restructure and fire people who are not producing for the company. They don't blame the clients! They change their practices to satisfy their clients. Why are we not getting this in education? Of course all of the outside influences that our children who are living in poverty bring with them to school don't make teachers' jobs any easier, but teachers and administrators mustn't dwell on it. If you want an easy job, don’t choose teaching—you’ve got the wrong profession. More focus needs to be put into teacher quality and training (and yes I know that resources are limited, but something needs to change so that teachers have more resources). The bottom line is that teacher education programs do not prepare teachers for even half of what they will face once they reach the classroom, and our children are suffering because of it. Of course diversity is a big piece of the puzzle too. School systems should really ask tough questions and try to get to the heart of teachers' philosophies of education during the hiring process. If a teacher professes to "not see color" and possess some sort of inherent "colorblindness", that teacher probably should not be placed in a school where all of the faces are shades of brown--or any school for that matter. In order for the achievement gap to change, teachers need to change, the institution of education needs to change, and our society as a whole needs to change.