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Education Week, v19 n28 Mar 22 2000

This second in a four-part series on why academic achievement gaps exist notes that standard explanations for why minority students trail behind non-Hispanic whites are not good enough, suggesting that no single explanation for the gap exists, but instead a multitude of factors are influential. Poverty, though not the single most important cause, is a major contributor. Lack of access to challenging academic courses has a negative effect on minority students. Though peer pressure to not "act white" (achieve academically) does not create achievement gaps, it is an impediment to closing them. Other barriers to achievement include high student mobility, poor teacher quality, parents who do not push their children to achieve, lack of access to preschools, racial stereotyping, academic losses over the summer, low teacher expectations, significant television viewing, and test bias. Students in dire need of good teachers often get the least qualified or least experienced teachers. One solution to this problem may be to raise teacher certification requirements. Korean-American parents typically push their children to achieve, relying on tutors and other supplemental education to eventually win highly competitive college placements. Korean educational values focus on high achievement, afterschool programs, test scores, and homework. (SM)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, After School Programs, Black Students, Class Size, Educational Quality, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Hispanic American Students, Korean Americans, Minority Group Children, Parent Influence, Peer Influence, Poverty, Teacher Competencies, Teacher Effectiveness

For full text: reports article.cfm?s lug=gap.htm.

Autor: Viadero, Debra; Johnston, Robert C.


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