#EducationalSuccess #SchoolModels #EducationalAchievementGap #HeadStart
Economist Eric Hanushek has seen successful school models, and sometimes believes overall educational improvements are possible.
At other times, he worries that educational success simply depends on the individual student.
Maureen Downey, education columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, discusses how the education gap persists in an April 16, 2019, column.
Hanushek co-authored a recent study that concludes “a stark opportunity gap between America’s haves and have-nots despite nearly a half-century of state and federal attempts to provide poor children with the extra resources to catch up,” Downey quotes the study.
“We have been trying a lot of things to close that achievement gap over time, but these gaps have not changed one whit over the almost half-century in which we are able to track performance,” Downey quotes Hanushek.
Head Start, desegration of schools, mandating services for students with disabilities and more equal funding between rich and poor districts have all been tried, yet there is no real movement, Downey writes.
The study, which analyzed various standardized test scores over the decades, determined that nothing that is really relevant has changed, Downey quotes Paul Peterson, director of Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance and a co-author of the study.
However, rising educational attainment by parents over those decades – a good thing – may be offset by the decline in the quality of teachers, Downey quotes the two experts. More higher-income opportunities for women have much to do with the decline in teacher quality, Downey writes.
This all breaks down to students who grow up in homes in which education is a priority — usually those in which the parents have a lot of education– have a better shot at educational success than those who don’t. That hasn’t changed in 50 years.
However, that doesn’t mean that students who grow up in poorer, less educated families CAN’T succeed. It may mean that those students need adults who can motivate them and help them make good life choices. These adults need to step up and help these kids.
The schools, after all, can’t do everything.
Also, kids need to be taught that college, and all its expenses, is not for everyone. They have to be taught that being a successful adult may not require a college education.
Certainly, if a motivated student really wants to go to college, he or she will also be motivated to find a way to get there if there are no obvious resources in their backgrounds.
Also, there are ways to earn money – potentially a lot of it – that don’t necessarily require a college education. They simply require a student to think outside the box, and perhaps look at something he or she never thought existed,or even thought they would be suited for.
Many such vehicles and programs exist. To check out one of the best, message me.
To sum it up, students need adults to motivate them. Every teacher may not connect with every student, but for every student, there is undoubtedly an adult who can find what makes that student want to succeed, and provide the time and resources to help that student experience what could be his or her passion.
Relying on schools to do everything for every student is like relying on a government to do everything for every citizen. The students have to look for what will motivate them. They have to learn not to let circumstances define or derail them.
They have to be taught that school may not have everything they need. If the school doesn’t, the students have to look for what they need and adults – parents, mentors, others – have to be willing to work with them.