Closing the achievement gap in education is an important goal for many educators. American education experienced a long and sustained period of school reform, fraught with significant challenges. Both legislators and governors have made the school reform movement their top project priority since the 1980s. The school reform movement has experienced profound achievements in the past and continues to face significant challenges, although it has achieved its goal of creating change in school conditions, student performance and institutional policy. One of the main objectives is to close the achievement gap in education.
Understand the achievement gap
Closing the achievement gap is about equalizing opportunities between people of different races and / or economic backgrounds. There is a growing difference in the performance of underprivileged minority students compared to the performance of white students at the same grade level. This achievement gap is a clear question of racism and the effects of the power of privilege. Educational institutions, educators and policy makers face a genuine lack of understanding in creating and developing schools that can cope with the context of a diversified society. The challenge continues with creating the correct policy that could help close the performance gap.
Policies to close the achievement gap
The National Governors Association for Best Practices is investigating the achievement gap challenge facing schools today. This requires the creation of new policies and the development of old policies to close the achievement gap that occurs in the United States and around the world, between the poor and ethnic minority groups. The policy manual reveals the nature of the performance problem, its history, and the efforts of different states to solve the existing problem. The primer also discusses alternative solutions and strategies at the state level, including important issues and factors to avoid when implementing solutions.
The No Child Left Behind Act or NCLB is an attempt by the federal government to close the achievement gap. The policy established a new accountability practice for American schools to set the same standards with a detailed plan for evaluating performance to ensure students meet pre-set school standards. The NCLB framework allows a student to transfer to other schools located in the same district if they fail the achievement test set by the school. It is the responsibility of the school district to provide supplemental services to students who persistently fail, as well as options to study at other schools operating within the same district. The school needs to demonstrate adequate progress on the problems of consistently failing students. Failure to show progress makes them open to corrective action under state law.
Schools focus their performance goals based on the conditions of students with disabilities and who come from disadvantaged family backgrounds. This includes students who possess limited English language skills and proficiency. However, well-performing schools still need to modify school practices, policies, and governance to accelerate and enhance the educational experience for the disadvantaged group of students. The state considers a school to perform well only when it is successful in closing the achievement gap. The new federal law’s intervention on the educational scene has created quite a stir among schools struggling to meet the new set of policies and criteria.