Some reasons behind the nation’s stalled progress in closing the achievement gap between black students and their better-performing white peers are explored in a report from the Educational Testing Service.
The report published this month by the Princeton, N.J.-based testing company notes that while the black-white achievement gap began narrowing dramatically in the 1970s, the trend ended in the late 1980s, and the gap has persisted ever since. Factors that may contribute to the halt in progress, according to the report, include: inadequate care in early childhood, declining communities and neighborhoods, growth in single-parent families, continuing unemployment among black males, and stagnant rates of intergenerational mobility out of seriously disadvantaged neighborhoods.
The report points out that 84 percent of black children—but only 5 percent of white children—born between 1955 and 1970 grew up in highly disadvantaged neighborhoods.
A version of this article appeared in the August 25, 2010 edition of Education Week as Achievement Gap