Closing Education Achievement Gap: Blue-Ribbon Panel Offers Blueprint

Amanda Paulson, Christian Science Monitor, February 19, 2013

How do you decrease the achievement gap and increase equity—and excellence—in America’s public schools?

For starters, reform the funding systems that so often mean a child’s access to education is determined by his or her ZIP code. Then elevate and reform the teaching profession, ensure access to high-quality preschool, meet the non-school needs of students from high-poverty communities, and shift the system of educational governance to improve equity.

All big—almost impossibly big—goals.

The Equity and Excellence Commission, which recently released its final report to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, has already achieved one somewhat remarkable goal: unanimous acceptance of the broad-reaching recommendations that the commission believes could turn around American public education.

Given that the commission members include union leaders; district, state, and federal education officials; civil rights leaders; and top thinkers from all sides of the education-reform debate, that is no small feat.

“This is a call to action that we can and we must and we should do better for our children, and for communities who have historically been denied opportunities … and in doing so, strengthen our country,” said Secretary Duncan, in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

The report clearly lays out the scope, and importance, of the challenge: Math results that show the average African-American eighth-grader performing at the 19th percentile of white students, and the average Hispanic eighth-grader at the 26th percentile. International testing results rank US students 27th for math, and show just 1 in 4 American students performing on par with the average student in countries like Singapore and Finland.

“Our education system, legally desegregated more than a half century ago, is ever more segregated by wealth and income, and often again by race,” asserts the report, adding that “simply achieving a 90 percent graduation rate for students of color would add as much as $6.6 billion in annual earnings to the American economy.”


The commission recommends a complete overhaul of the current system of recruiting, training, compensating, retaining, and evaluating America’s teachers, along with incentives to put effective teachers in high-needs schools.


More than anything, said Mr. Edley of Berkeley Law School, he and other commission members hope the report becomes a “new polestar,” focused on equity and excellence, around which to frame education-reform efforts in the future—perhaps a replacement for the “A Nation at Risk” report 30 years ago which galvanized attention around education but hasn’t born the fruit its advocates were hoping.


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  • The__Bobster

    This came from the CSM??!! They can’t accept the obvious answer. What deluded Xtards.

  • Robert Binion

    And this initiative for preschoolers is brought to you by the letter”b”–as in “bong.” This reform is pipedream. Look at me. The taxpayers who “invested” in my education lost every dime.

    • Tom Iron

      If they only asked me the questions I knew on the tests when I was a boy in school, I would’ve done wonderfully. However, it would’ve been a very short test.

    • StillModerated

      Actually, this edition of Sesame Street is brought to you by the letters S and H. And the number is 2. I’m not lying!

  • Seems like I read this article about once every two days on average, and have been ever since I’ve been old enough to read and understand articles like these. I also remember reading a short story called “Harrison Bergeron” that explained how to achieve the goals that this article wishes we would take up. Middle school English teachers love to assign “Harrison Bergeron” (and that’s when it was assigned to me), blissfully unaware that it undermines all the other egalitarian mush the public schools push.

    • Jss

      Honestly, once every 2 days is dead on. I wonder when they will start literally putting out the same word for word articles with a different date on them.

  • Arne Ducan did wonders as CEO of Chicago Public Schools. He is Education Secretary because he enjoys showering with Obama after a good sweaty basketball game.

  • eavesmac

    I’ve looked into a bl home while picking up a laborer, and couldn’t believe my eyes or ears. Living just like animals from the zoo turned loose in a house.

    • Alex

      I worked with black day laborers one time and they all barely worked (most didn’t) and made monkey-style howls fairly often. I would have been surprised, but I’ve been around black people long enough to know that they all revert to their natural state especially when surrounded by others of their species. They really are sub-human, it’s easy to see their ties to the chimps.

  • fakeemail

    Don’t these Marxist lunatics *ever* get tired of spouting the same tired old LIES decade after decade? Would not their endless FAILURE open their eyes to factors at play that go beyond their ideology? I guess not so long as they get to play the good guys and form their blue ribbon (whoop-de-doo) commissions.

    • Tom_in_Miami

      That’s a novel idea that’s bound to work: “focus on equity and excellence.” I wonder why nobody thought of that before……now visualize a gorilla scratching his head.

    • Ulick

      “I guess not so long as they get to play the good guys”
      That’s what it’s all about for white Liberals. It’s all about feeling good and looking good to their Liberal peers by trying to help those poor, diadvantaged victims of institutional racism. Admitting the truth would make them feel bad and look bad in front of their peers. It’s mainly about their own feelings and appearances with these people.

      • Bon, From the Land of Babble

        Trying to close the achievement gap and “feel good” policies are BIG BUSINESSES now involving billions and billions of dollars in the form of federal grants, sinecures and other cushy jobs proposing ridiculous theories about why blacks and browns fail (it’s never IQ) — not to mention that the education beast employs a LOT of non-Whites (what else to do with all those worthless black Ph.Ds in education??).

        It’s a self-perpetuating monster!!

        Yet…NO ONE is EVER held responsible when these programs inevitably fail — as they have each in turn for the past 50 years. The muti-billion dollar proposal above is no different from any other program that has been tried repeatedly with no results.

        But what’s a billion or trillion dollars when the government printing presses can whip up whatever amount is needed, it’s for “the children” after all, non-White children that is!!.

        Failure is no reason to stop the madness.

        You know, sometimes I wanna get off of this world…



    • Anders

      They would never admit that they were wrong. The machine rolls on, same failures and achievement gaps etc, same excuses over and over again. They would rather this continue on than admit that their systems and strategies are a complete failure.

      Also, they have quite a bit at stake; a high-paying job for instance.
      I wonder though…How many of them are starting to wonder about the reasons behind achievement gaps and black and hispanic failure? Do any of them awake at night in a sweat due to niggling doubts?

      • br549

        i think “niggling” might be a racist word.

        • josh

          “Niggling”? Isnt that the proces of creating MORE ni—oh never mind!

      • Will

        Chris Brand, a UK psychologist and academic, suggested in the 1990’s that
        from a scientific standpoint, the way to organize instuction, say in mathematics,
        is just along a vast continuum beginning with the pre-school masteries in counting,
        etc., and extending on up into calculus and beyond. Anyone could be be
        connected to a place along the continuum that was optimum for his interface.
        It would probably involve dismantling the existing educational system and
        reconstructing in around such provision–everything from building design to
        personnel policies, to evaluation. However, such an arragement would starkly
        reveal that among varied evolved human kinship groups, some–proportionate to
        their numbers in the overall population—would be found far more often in the
        higher portions of the continuum; some, far more often in the lower. Realism
        at a glance!

  • PBL

    How to fix our schools and increase equity and excellence in the education system? Well, their are to tacks we can take. Either we “fix” parents, or we expel them–with their progeny in tow.
    Aside from those schemes, their is no hope. All other tracks have been tried many time since the 60’s and have utterly failed.

  • So CAL Snowman

    You know what will fix our public schools, more Mexicans and more third world anchor baby illegals.

    • Gereng

      There are several website where measured national average IQ’s are listed.
      Our own is falling as a function of immigration from failed nations of the underdeveloped world. As someone once opined: “Great people create great civilizations, those he can’t migrate”.

  • concernedcollegekid

    Is there anyone who read this article and was like “FINALLY, a FOOLPROOF way to close the racial achievement gap!! It’s about time!!!” *throws celebratory party*

  • purestocles

    The report asserts that “simply achieving a 90 percent graduation rate for students of color would add as much as $6.6 billion in annual earnings to the American economy.”

    Add? How? Implementing programs that could achieve this unrealistic level of success would be catastrophically expensive and SUBTRACT $6.6 billion in annual earnings from the American economy.

    • josh

      We could do that easily by CANCELLING $6.6 billion in money thrown down the sewer,and stolen by African shtrong black mens and womens–used to help Shitavious get smart in the first place!!

  • tickyul

    UCK……….another waste of money!

  • bigone4u

    The education system is now a house of cards, soon to collapse. Success in education provides graduates with a skill set (reading, math, science, etc.) that is required to be a law abiding productive civilized person. Success also leaves graduates with a love of learning. By focusing on racial egalitarianism, these two simple principles get pushed out. They have to be pushed out because the assumption that all races have an equal ability to learn and an equal love of learning is FALSE.
    It’s like sending your dog to an obedience school that puts dogs and cats in the same class. No animal trainer would do that. But that’s what the educational establishment, highly paid and highly leftist, is doing. May they be cursed for destroying the lives of children in the name of political correctness.

  • Commonsense80

    The premise that all races are on average exactly equal in scholastic potential is false. If people could get this premise correct they’d see that the achievement gap in and of itself is not a problem and focus on doing a better job of raising performance levels of all students.

    • MBlanc46

      That’s spot on. There seems to be some hope for thinking that people are beginning to get it. It will be awhile yet before that discussion will happen at the level of policy-makers, but the day is coming.

  • Will

    The best commentary on this topic is Arthur Jensen’s “Spearman’s ‘g’ and the Problem
    of Educational Equality” published in 1991. One aspect of schools captured very well
    is the endless involvement in something “new” to the extent focus is where the school is
    headed, not where it is or where it has been.

  • Funruffian

    Having a pluralistic school system creates division naturally by the mere fact that different races do not have much in common. This causes a hindrance in personal growth whereas students in a homogenous setting grow from within their own commonality to one another. A sole White student in a totally ethnic environemnt is not healthy and can deracinate his sense of origins. It’s only fair to have students earn their education off their own individual merits and not from the merits of others.

  • IKantunderstand

    Blah, blah, blah. We have been there, done that. Y’all don’t remember? Headstart has shown NO benefits later. What would make more sense would be an acknowledgement that Blacks are only capable to do certain kinds of jobs. Since cotton picking is done better by machines, I’m not exactly sure what they are capable of doing. This is seriously a moral question. What on earth do we do with people who are dumb? The world is advancing in leap and bounds. Yet, we have Blacks, who seem to be out of step. What’s to be done? I suppose one answer, at least in Western Civilization is: If Whites die off, everybody will rise in smarts.(Relatively speaking). Frankly, I think that is the plan. Think about it. Whites represent seven percent of the world’s population. I apologize for sounding like some kind of believer in conspiracies, but on the other hand, if the shoe fits….

    • HarryFan

      They are good at making babies and criminal activities, That is about it!!

      • josh


  • guest

    Instead of coming up with these proposals, why don’t they identify one real-world instance of a school that has closed the achievement gap, and did it without cheating or cherry-picking? If it’s possible to do it, someone must have done it already? We keep on hearing about wonderful schemes to close the gap but what about that one example…

    Australia has the same problem with their abos, and there, even the most liberal Aussies have given up on the idea that abos can be made into whites, and I think everyone there knows at this point that there are insurmountable genetic differences. American blacks perform at a level above abos, but there is still an insurmountable gap between them and whites.

  • Ulick

    “a child’s access to education is determined by his or her ZIP code”
    Dear Liberal, why are some zip code areas safer then other zip code areas?
    And before you say “poverty” as though poverty exists in a vacuum — why have some zip code areas, like Detroit’s or Gary, Indiana’s, become more poor and less safe than they used to be?
    What’s the common denominator to these really bad zip codes?

    • Howard W. Campbell

      My sister in law’s parents got a fantastic education in Gary, Indiana. Oh, yea, we are talking the 1950’s, never mind. The zip codes for Gary, Indiana were created in the early 1960’s and that must have ruined the Gary schools.

      How many of our parents, grandparents, etc. went to what are now inner city schools (or their predecessor schools) and received a fabulous education?

    • Howard W. Campbell

      Here in Gary in 1959. Not a failed city at that point.

      • SintiriNikos

        I’ve never been to many of the places in a lot of these nostalgic photos, but the pics never fail to elicit in me sadness and even grief at having such wonderful, thriving, healthy communities snuffed out in the last half-century or so.

      • MBlanc46

        In fairness, one has to say that the principal cause of the decline of Gary is the decline of the US steel industry. When that happened, those who could get out did so, leaving the wasteland we see today.

    • NeanderthalDNA

      This is so riddled with failed ideological duckspeak.

      Let’s parse, shall we?

      “How do you decrease the achievement gap and increase equity—and excellence—in America’s public schools?”

      First conceit. Is not decreasing the achievement gap the same as increasing equity? Repetitive and unnecessary. The problem, of course, is that increasing equity and excellence (definition needed in context) appear to be impossible based on the last half century of painful experimentation and the findings of REAL science.

      ‘For starters, reform the funding systems that so often mean a child’s access to education is determined by his or her ZIP code.”

      I taught at a black high school. Fine physical facilities (under constant assault from the African charges, but eminently sufficient, heck, better than my Catholic high school). How do little Chinese kids who walk to poorly heated cinder block schools do it? The Lie is that more money will fix the problem. We already spend more per student than just about anywhere in the world. Has not helped in 50 years – how much more, eh?

      “Then elevate and reform the teaching profession,”

      Oh Lord. Torture well meaning people who want to teach, alternately praising and criticizing, blaming them for a situation designed to be out of control and traumatize them with this double bind sadism. If it don’t work, fire a bunch of them, then humiliate them by forcing them to reapply for old jobs when nobody wants to take their positions. Oh, and teach white teachers to rap and hate themselves.

      “ensure access to high-quality preschool,”

      Like Head Start? 50 years, no results, just like every other liblefty race problem fixing boondoggle.

      “meet the non-school needs of students from high-poverty communities,”

      Oh…now the public schools must “fix all the problems” and raise the children of r-style breeders so that they behave like children of k-style breeders. Feed them, raise them, teach them life lessons and basic skills their parents won’t/can’t.

      “and shift the system of educational governance to improve equity.”

      What? Have the feds take over? Ominous.

      “All big—almost impossibly big—goals.”

      Delete the word, “almost” and we have an honest statement…

  • StillModerated

    commission members include union leaders; district, state, and federal
    education officials; civil rights leaders; and top thinkers from all
    sides of the education-reform debate …

    There you have it — the recipe for failure. It’s time to think outside the box. Bring back segregated schools. Boys taught by men. Girls taught by women. And the same thing in the black schools.

  • martin stuart

    the only thing that can change anything are the parents and we never bring that into the discussion.

    • josh

      What can the “parents” change? theyre goinmg top make Shitavious smarter? Care about books and learning???? NOT care about “stylin'”,shoes,dancing, basketball,showin off fo da honeys??? So you want parents to be miracle workers! Yeah thats gonna happen!

  • JohnEngelman

    Unfortunately, the website documenting this no longer exists. Nevertheless, in 2005 the most expensive public school system in the United States was that of Washington, DC. The student body was 85 percent black. Test scores were lower than for any of the fifty states.

  • JohnEngelman

    The failure of No Child Left Behind should have demonstrated that the race gap cannot be eliminated, or even reduced.

    • The__Bobster

      The proof was there long before Teddy pushed this farce through.

      • JohnEngelman

        George W. Bush did much of the heavy lifting too. Both political parties share responsibility for that waste of time and money.

        The only good result of No Child Left Behind that I can think of is that it provides more evidence for the arguments presented in The Bell Curve.

        Those who continue to argue that IQ does not matter, genes do not matter, race does not matter, we are all the same under the skin, and blah blah blah are coming increasingly to sound like those who argue against the theory of evolution.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    and for communities who have historically been denied opportunities…decrease the achievement gap and increase equity…African-American eighth-grader performing at the 19th percentile of white

    Notice it is African-Americans (capital As) and Hispanic (capital H) but white (small case w). Make no mistake: This is done on purpose by the media and government to demean and debase Whites.

    Closed systems like the anti-White government education system are breeding grounds for monstrous contradiction and absurdity.

    So much of the anti-White ideology being taught in America’s public schools is built on opinion, not fact: America is a “proposition nation,” a “nation of immigrants,” a “global village.” For the “world community” we must embrace “multiculturalism,” “diversity,” or “melting pot theory” !! So many silly ideas!! Yet all of these twisted theories lead to the very same thing: The disempowerment, dehumanization and displacement of White people and White culture.

    This anti-White government school agenda needs to be hammered away at mercilessly and its criminal anti-White activities constantly exposed.


    • josh


  • LHathaway

    “How do you decrease the achievement gap and increase equity—and excellence”

    They didn’t even have to explain what the achievement gap was. . . It isn’t even till paragraph 7 that the article explains this ‘achievement gap’ is one between the races. Perhaps this was an effort to be ‘sensitive’. hehe, nowhere does it ask students to study more.

    • chuck_2012

      asking students to work harder is too logical for this gang.

  • bubo

    If they actually want to try something constructive they could start by dismantling the massive jobs program that is education inc.

    Take education back about 75 years. Teach history, math, science, language and the arts. No more social justice, no more white guilt indoctrination.

    Purge the rolls of worthless teachers and overpaid administrators.

    But they won’t. And next year they’ll propose another multi billion dollar program to solve a problem nature has presented us with.

    • josh

      No Martin Luther King????

  • JohnEngelman

    Conservative columnists ought to be exposing this nonsense, but they are not. The only thing they seem to really care about are policies that increase the wealth and power of rich people and corporations.

    • Luca

      You mean HONEST columnists should be exposing this. Problem is most are liberal hacks towing the agenda and the rest are afraid of being called Racists and losing their jobs over the truth.

    • MBlanc46

      Dealing with the race problem would involve questioning the fundamental principle of the conservatives, viz., that the “free market” has the answer to everything.

  • JohnEngelman

    Our economy is evolving in ways that make those with double digit IQs increasingly unnecessary. This is mainly a problem for blacks of course, but it is also a problem for whites. Because there is no obvious solution to this problem most people pretend that it does not exist and that education reform can prepare most students for intellectually challenging careers.

    • a multiracial individual

      There are many economists that argue that long term employment problems are impossible because humans have limited means, and unlimited desires. For example, in pre-industrial America most people worked in agriculture. They were terrified of advanced farming technology because they believed it would hurt their chances to make a living. They were partially correct, the new technology did make their particular work obsolete. However, this allowed new industries and areas of employment to be created. They moved from the field to the factory quite seamlessly. At the risk of breaking one of the cardinal rules of historical study, I think you are correct that it is different THIS time. As more industries are created, they will increasingly require higher and higher IQ. I’m not sure what makes people like Bill Gates think that everyone has an IQ of 125. Also, automation is increasing as well. It is entirely possible that most wealth could one day be held by a few ultra-rich individuals surrounded by their working machines.

    • MBlanc46

      I’m not sure what you mean by “obvious”, but it seems pretty clear to me that if we’re going to create a social order in which blacks actually can make an economic contribution, we have to devolve enough of the economy to provide them with jobs that they can do (many of which Mexicans are doing now).