Education Letter to the Editor

Closing Achievement Gaps by Creating a New One?

January 09, 2007 1 min read

To the Editor:

What if efforts aimed at closing the familiar achievement gaps, as addressed in the No Child Left Behind Act, end up creating an additional achievement gap?

This new gap would refer to the difference in the meager learning gains by the gifted in comparison to the aggregated remaining student groups. Could the lowering of the ceiling of student achievement (or reluctance to accelerate, as described in the 2004 report “A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students”) be a secret tool in creating the appearance of a closing of other achievement gaps?

Such an appearance results in financial benefits to the school and district, as well as the embellishment of reputations. Those charged with the education of our gifted students actually are able to profit from imposing underachievement on them.

Lack of federal legislation, neglect by the No Child Left Behind law, and the hushing of this phenomenon allow our gifted students to be quietly sacrificed on a national basis.

Diane Hanfmann

Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

A version of this article appeared in the January 10, 2007 edition of Education Week as Closing Achievement Gaps By Creating a New One?