Can we close the racial achievement gap in our schools?

The World

According to a 2009 Department of Education study, ten percent of black students and 22 percent of Hispanic students did not graduate from high school on time, compared to only six percent of white students. A similar disparity in scores between white and minority students on national reading and math tests has remained largely the same since the mid-1990s.

Geoffrey Canada has thought a lot about the achievement gap. He is the president and CEO of The Harlem Children’s Zone, which offers educational and social services to more than 8,000 children in a 97 block neighborhood centered in Harlem. A Harvard study in 2009 called Canada’s methods “enough to reverse the black-white achievement gap.” But Valerie Purdie-Vaughns, assistant professor of psychology at Columbia University, says work still has to be done to eliminate the disparities in socio-economically diverse school systems across the country.

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