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Working to Close the Achievement Gap

Over the past 20 years, demographics in U.S. public schools have changed. Currently, about 51 percent of children attending public schools are African American, Latino, and Asian or Pacific Islander. Forty-nine percent are Caucasian.

Despite these numbers, achievement and opportunity gaps persist between Caucasian students and students of color and affluent and poor children. These gaps remain despite the No Child Left Behind Act requiring that demographic group achievement scores be compared and despite the implementation of numerous other initiatives and programs.

Providing equitable and excellent education for all students is a challenge that all educators need to tackle, and school administrators need to think about how their school or district should act from a social justice position?

First, a district must consider both the opportunities offered to, and the educational outcomes for, children of color. Additionally, districts must examine school policies, curriculum, and practices from an equitable and multicultural perspective. This is critical to improving education for children from underserved populations.

Educators must also be willing to revise and replace policies, curriculum, and practices that do not support a quality education for students of color.

To help ensure that all students have access to the best possible education, CREC’s Institute of Teaching and Learning is inviting educators in Greater Hartford to join its Social Justice and Equity Consortium. The consortium will meet three times in 2017 to examine local and state instructional practices, curriculum, student performance, school climate and culture, policies and programs, and leadership from a social justice perspective. The group will also identify and discuss best practices and share those best practices with their colleagues.

The first consortium meeting of 2017 will be held in March, and participants will deepen their understanding and improve their practice of culturally responsive teaching. To learn more about the consortium, contact Ellen Retelle, director of CREC’s Institute of Teaching and Learning, at eretelle@crec.org.

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