Achievement GapExcellence with Equity: It’s Everybody’s Business
Education equals opportunity. But far too many Kentucky students are being denied that opportunity as a result of an education system that has failed to erase barriers due to race, income, language, and learning differences.
Why Does This Matter?
Are you a parent?
- A high-quality school delivers excellence for all students. Whether or not your children face barriers to achievement, all students benefit when all students succeed.
- A focus on quality in preschool and kindergarten is key. Achievement gaps start early….and too often they don’t go away as children progresses through school. In fact, without interventions they often widen over time.
Are you an employer?
- Achievement gaps reflect our failure to equip students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in life and in the workplace.
- As your employees retire, your search to find qualified replacements is made more difficult because of achievement gaps and their negative impact on the preparation of students.
Are you a community leader?
- Achievement gaps pull down the performance of schools in your area. That makes it harder to attract new or expanded businesses that provide good jobs and contribute to a higher quality of life.
- Under-prepared students often struggle building a strong foundation after high school and are less likely to be engaged citizens.
Are you a state or local officeholder or policymaker?
- Achievement gaps begin early, and many expand between kindergarten and high school graduation. Investments in quality early childhood programs and interventions along the way are critical if we are to take corrective action at the times it matters most.
- Strategies and programs to attack this problem must be supported for the long haul. Achievement gaps have been with us for a long time; eliminating them will require a sustained commitment.
Why is it Important?
Building a good life, strong communities and a prosperous state for everyone requires one critical element: quality education.
Today, too many students are denied opportunities to succeed due to barriers of income, race, language and learning differences. The academic performance of these students trails that of other students – creating achievement gaps that have been with us for far too long. Kentucky’s achievement gap challenge is the one we must meet, and soon.
White students in Kentucky are nearly twice as likely as African-American students to achieve reading proficiency by 4th grade. Students who do not qualify for free or reduced price lunches are twice as likely as their low wage peers to reach math proficiency by 8th grade. Students without learning differences are more than three times as likely to graduate college or become career-ready as students with learning differences. These gaps are growing wider over time.
The Committee believes that all children have a right to equitable opportunities to learn and grow. Educating our children is everybody’s business for our state’s future prosperity.
We must work together to achieve excellence with equity for all Kentucky’s children.
Excellence with Equity
Regardless of the role we play in our communities, we all have a role to play in closing Kentucky’s achievement gaps. And it’s important to remember that this can’t be about the progress of one group of students slowing down while that of another speeds up. We must increase achievement for all students and much faster for those falling behind.
Excellence: students of all backgrounds learn at much higher levels
Equity: students in groups that have fallen behind catch up with their peers (close the gap)