State Schools Chief Has Plan To Close Achievement Gap

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
State School Superintendent Jack O’Connell is pushing programs aimed at eliminating what’s called the “achievement gap” in California. That’s the fact that Black and Hispanic students continue to have lower test scores than their white or Asian counterparts. “Clearly it is time to move past the discomfort of talking about culture and race.” O’Connell says unintentional bias may be playing a role in the gap. “An attempt to be colorblind can feel to a student of color like a rejection of that student’s own individual experience and culture.” He proposes cultural training for teachers, and is forming an advisory committee to help measure whether schools are successfully closing the gap. O’Connell also has a plan to increase the number of students who attend preschool.