Opinion
Assessment Letter to the Editor

Don’t Blame the Schools for Rich-Poor Academic Gap

April 14, 2015 1 min read

To the Editor:

The Inside School Research blog post regarding Robert Putnam’s new book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, hit home with me. Finally, someone who gives voice to the truth with the statement, “Schools are not to blame for the academic gap between rich and poor students that starts before kindergarten.”

For years, educators and schools have been blamed for this academic gap, even though they are dedicated to helping their students every day—providing snacks, clothes, and emotional support, just to name a few ways they help—while still maintaining academic focus. Miracles happen every day in schools.

My school has, as have others, developed a mentoring program to provide positive role models for our students. This is because we educators have known all along the importance of “all kids being our kids.” Society must quit blaming schools and educators, and step up and take collective responsibility for education. We need positive, not only negative, coverage of what is actually happening in our schools. We need businesses to take a vested interest in being authentically involved in schools. Parents need to make time to converse with their children. Communities need to support adequate funding of schools.

Our future hinges on the ability of young people to work together, problem-solve, and have empathy for one another. How can we expect them to learn empathy, compassion, and community-mindedness if the adults in their communities are not displaying those values?

Legislators must quit measuring the success of a school by looking at one set of data points. Educators know that student growth is shown in many ways, not just in numerical form. We need more of our political leaders to visit schools, so that they can make educated decisions about the supports schools and children need.

Sherry A. Watts

Principal

Minneola Elementary Charter School

Minneola, Fla.

A version of this article appeared in the April 15, 2015 edition of Education Week as Don’t Blame the Schools For Rich-Poor Academic Gap

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Advance Educational Equity
Schools are welcoming students back into buildings for full-time in-person instruction in a few short weeks and now is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and systems to build
Content provided by PowerMyLearning
Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn
Professional Development Webinar Expand Digital Learning by Expanding Teacher Training
This discussion will examine how things have changed and offer guidance on smart, cost-effective ways to expand digital learning efforts and train teachers to maximize the use of new technologies for learning.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Assessment How Can Teachers Better Understand Students? A New Breed of Assessment Will Try to Help
Researchers will work to create formative assessments that can give teachers a window into students’ emerging identities and strengths
4 min read
In this Nov. 19, 2020, file photo, sixth-grade students listen to instruction in class at Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School in East Harwich, Mass.
Researchers hope to create new assessments to help teachers gain deeper insights into the identities and strengths of their students, like these 6th graders at Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School in East Harwich, Mass.
Elise Amendola/AP
Assessment Opinion It's Time We Begin Using Assessments to Look Forward, Instead of Back
Schools do not get much value from high-stakes tests. Many are now allowing schools to use better assessments to guide student learning.
Seth Feldman
5 min read
shutterstock 19525837
Shutterstock
Assessment Opinion Grading Has Always Been an Imperfect Exercise. COVID-19 Made It Worse
It’s hard reducing the complexity of each student’s social, emotional, and academic learning to a letter grade. Maybe we’re doing it wrong.
Lory Walker Peroff
4 min read
A student's grades are unknown
Robert Neubecker for Education Week
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Assessment Whitepaper
Facing the Future Together: Digital Innovative Solutions
Join us to discuss how digital innovative solutions can enrich the educational experience in the K-12 environment. We’ll share how these ...
Content provided by Pearson