Lingering Academic Gap Riles NAACP
Posted on: 2007-11-08 18:09:05
Black pressure group orders Loudoun county school board to do more about "stubborn disparities"
In one of the wealthiest counties in the country, minority advocates are urging the Loudoun County School Board to redouble efforts and resources to boost achievement of black and Hispanic students to the level of their white classmates.
Members of the Loudoun chapter of the NAACP, who have monitored minority student performance for more than a decade, said they have seen only "small, inconsistent improvement" in narrowing racial and ethnic disparities.
"Given that some schools throughout the nation have eliminated the achievement gap, [we] must demand more effective and vigorous action," Reginald A. Early, the chapter's president, wrote the board recently.
State tests show large gaps in reading scores, particularly for elementary- and middle-school students. Four years ago, the passing rate for non-Hispanic white third-graders in Loudoun was 24 percentage points ahead of the rate for both black and Hispanic students. In the past school year, black students lagged by 21 points; for Hispanic students, the disparity was 29 points.
Stubborn disparities challenge educators everywhere, including those in the affluent Washington suburbs, where overall high performance can overshadow lower achievement among some groups. The typical explanations that experts cite -- including language barriers, poverty or uninvolved parents -- often do not fully explain those gaps.