Though I’m not crazy about the headline in this New York Times story, “Learning To Bridge The Achievement Gap” does tell a nice story of academic progress a school in a low-income neighborhood is making. One of the strategies it’s using is providing three-times-a-week literacy and life skills class to immigrant parents.
The reason I’m not thrilled with the headline is because it perpetuates the myth that schools can bridge the gap. In fact, as education researcher Richard Rothstein has said (and we discuss in our book), most schools can narrow the gap, but not bridge it.
Without recognizing and acting on the reality that so many non-school issues affect academic achievement, we are not going to bridge the achievement gap for most students. In addition to working on in-school instruction, by working with parents and other instituations, schools can have an impact on those issues of poverty, heath, and safety.