The Latino achievement gap has been an ongoing challenge for years. Studies show an early and persistent gap between the achievement of Hispanic students and that of their white peers. The gap appears by the time students have reached the 3rd grade and remains fairly consistent throughout their school careers impacting graduation rates and college enrollment. This topic hits home for me, as it was the focus of my doctoral research at the University of Akron. My learning was that the Hispanic achievement gap is complex and multi-faceted steeped in cultural differences, language barriers, school climate, environmental factors, and student motivation. While there seems no debate about the disparity in achievement, we’ve yet to find a solution.
Federal funding for initiatives aimed at closing the gap is out there, but many of the dollars go unspent for various reasons. Educational experts do agree that reform for English language learners requires professional development, opportunities to improve parental involvement, and high-quality resources. In her second post this week, former Los Angeles elementary-school teacher Patricia Dickenson, a member of ASCD’s Emerging Leaders Program, offers suggestions for schools on closing the achievement gap for English-language learners. For starters, schools should divert funding for testing to purchasing high-quality books and other resources for ELL students, she writes. Other ideas include creating policies that promote multilingualism and language learning, and reduce disparities apparent at low-income and affluent schools. Read the entire post here.
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