New Report: Educational Inequality

Posted by on September 22, 2006


Recent policy studies have tried to identify “high-flying” schools — schools that help students reach very high levels of achievement, despite significant disadvantages. Only 1.1 percent of high-poverty schools consistently achieve at high levels on standardized tests. This finding directly challenges the results of policy studies published by the Education Trust and Heritage Foundation which claim that 15.6 percent of high-poverty schools are highly performing. The federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) makes the same mistake, Harris argues. The law provides performance incentives for schools to help all students reach proficiency, but ignores the fact that, due to economic and social conditions, students start school at very different levels of readiness. As a result, the law holds schools responsible for factors outside their control. In addition, Harris finds that a low-poverty school is 22 times more likely to be high performing than a high-poverty school. Equally alarming, low-poverty, low-minority schools are 89 times more likely to be high performing that high-poverty, high-minority schools.

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