no academic achievement gap school education

Domino Effect: What if the Academic Achievement Gap Didn’t Exist?

Posted on Posted in Blog, School Me on Research

Domino Effect: What if the Academic Achievement Gap Didn't Exist?

Have you ever been without the full use of one finger or maybe even a toe for a few days?  Last week I had a finger emergency.  I was on the phone with my mama one Saturday morning trying to flip pancakes and remember where I’d placed the earrings she’d asked me to give to my oldest.  In mid pancake flip I panicked as I suddenly remembered that I’d thrown the bag with the earrings in the trash.  Oops.  I immediately put down the spatula, as I was not about to tell my mama I’d thrown her good hard earned money away, and I started to dig through the trash can.  It wasn’t until I felt a sharp slice through my right pointer finger that I remembered along with that bag was a broken glass we’d thrown away just the night before.  Oops again.  A millions Band-Aids later and two hours vested in the urgent care waiting room I was glued back together and off to learn how to work with nine fingers instead of ten.
Don’t get me wrong, I was thankful for the nine good fingers I had left.  But within a few days I could tell my other fingers were feeling the strain.  I type a lot.  I have three children and a husband which means I do stuff – a lot of stuff.  Trying to keep my injured finger out of the way of water, or direct contact with anything meant there were times I felt as if I had a charley horse in the palm of my hand.  Who knew my other nine fingers depended on my pointer finger to do so much? 
Needless to say I gained a new perspective on how just one change can throw an entire system off.  Or in the case of this new study, by The Center for American Progress, how one change can turn a system back right again.  A recent report by the Center for American Progress supposed what would happen in the U.S. if there was no achievement gap.  It appears that the U.S., at least financially, would be a whole lot better – go figure.  The report found that closing racial and ethnic educational achievement gaps would:
  • Increase GDP and tax revenues.
  • Make life better off for this current generation with higher earnings and material standards of living.
  • Benefit present-day adults (whether working or in retirement), i.e. lift Social Security tax contributions by $877 billion by 2050.  And Medicare tax revenues for the Hospital Insurance Fund would increase by $265 billion from 2014 to 2050.
After a week I can finally use my pointer finger again.   Not only am I happy to have full use of all of my ten digits, but I imagine my other nine fingers are happy too.  This little accident taught me the value of having everyone on the team able to play at their full level of capability.   Though in my case where the fix of an injured finger can heal in one week, the fixing of the achievement gap will take more time.  The achievement gap requires more to heal – starting with access to on par daycare, preschools, educational opportunities and bare minimum middle class sustaining salaries.  I am still hopeful despite the amount of work needed to fix all of this.   Ridding ourselves of the achievement gap is possible.  It’s just that such a feat will require more than a Band-Aid fix.



What do you think? What would the U.S. be like for your child without an achievement gap?


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