What About Closing the Achievement Gap???
Original post made by High Achiever, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2006
In Math we have 321 Elementary students BELOW or FAR BELOW BASIC grade level achievement. And 697 in 6th/7th that are BELOW or FAR BELOW in CST General Mathematics (Grades 6 & 7 Standards).
Why isn'g this being recognized as our tope priority? Why aren't these kids first in line? The numbers that need this attention are very similar to the numbers that will be served by a proposed new language enrichment program.
We are a community that has the resources but not the will to close the achievement gap. We pat ourselves on the back for having 90% or more At or Above or Far Above, and figure the rest are what, disposable?
In the SIP reviews all the elementary AND Secondardy school principals said closing the achievement gap is their biggest priority and their biggest unsolved problem. They said they know how to find them, they just haven't done a good enough job of helping them so far.
This is NOT an optional priority for PAUSD. How do we justify leaving this many kids behind?
The majority of the kids in our district are high achievers, and we do a very very good job of offering plenty of enrichment opportunities for high achievers.
How do we justify talking about MORE enrichment opportunities for high achievers when we are leaving kids out all together.
Think about the future for children that are that far below basic academic standards, and how PROUD we are as a community to say that we have a measly 600 kids that we are willing to throw away.
Conversation on who should get more and more and more luxurious enrichment, while we blithely ignore the kids in the achievement gap for the very most basic skills, is pathetic and disgusting.
There should be a moratorium on ANY further high end enrichment programs until PAUSD gets it act together for these kids. Every single one of the board members should be called to account for the 600 kids they are choosing to ignore if they choose to install more high end enrichment programs first.
If you agree, please make sure the board hears you. You can write to the board at:
In their SIP reviews the Principals and Mary Callan said; reaching kids earlier, as early as kindergarten and Pre K is the next best way to close the achievement gap.
We already have a meager choice program in this district called Young Fives, but it serves only 40 children on a LOTTERY basis. (VERY FAIR?!) If ANY expansion of choice program is on the table, it should be expansion of Young Fives to all who need it.
Please take a stand for these kids.