Monday, August 30, 2010

We Meant We'll Close the Figurative Achievement Gap

Jonathan Chait:

Turque's article makes a big deal about Rhee's determination to eliminate the black-white acheivement gap. Taken literally, it's bad news when whites pull ahead faster than blacks. But nobody actually takes it that literally. Blacks and whites are not engaged in some zero sum education contest. The point is to raise everybody's scores, wtih a special emphasis on bringing up the scores of African-Americans, who trail badly. The high scores of white students in D.C. are not actually a problem.

Well, if you go to the website of the Education Equality Project, of which Michelle Rhee is a director, it says in big letters:

The huge difference in academic performance between students from different economic circumstances and racial/ethnic backgrounds.

Am I supposed to be reading that figuratively?

If I pick up a copy of a random DCPS document it says right on the cover, amid other exhortations, "We have the power and responsibility to close the achievement gap." Am I supposed to know that this is a noble lie?

This is 100% the reformers own framing. It is idiotic, yes, but it was not foisted upon them, and they can't weasel out when they have to start living up to their own hype.

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