Racial Achievement Gap Still Plagues Schools | Teachers College Columbia University

Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Racial Achievement Gap Still Plagues Schools

Amy Stuart Wells: "race still matters quite a bit in a society and very much so in education"
American schools have struggled for decades to close what's called the 'minority achievement gap' — the lower average test scores, grades and college attendance rates among black and Latino students.
Typically, schools place children who are falling behind in remedial classes, to help them catch up. But some schools are finding that grouping students by ability, also known as tracking or leveling, causes more problems than it solves.
Black children in higher-level classes were ignored, or perceived that they were being ignored, or did not feel comfortable going to the teacher after school to get help
"You could look at the highest-achieving kid and the lowest-achieving kid and say 'Oh my god, they're worlds apart,' right?" says Amy Stuart Wells, sociology and education professor at Columbia University's Teachers College. The problem, Stuart Wells says, is the way kids in the vast middle are sorted. The racial segregation corresponds to the difference in average test scores between black and white students both at the school and nationally. But Stuart Wells says racial stereotypes still play a role.
"What you're seeing in suburbia and how it is playing out along racial lines is testimony to the fact that race still matters quite a bit in a society and very much so in education," she says.
The article "Racial Achievement Gap Still Plagues Schools" was published on October 31st in NPR.org website. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114298676

Published Monday, Nov. 9, 2009