Objects in Mirror

Would rewarding success increase educational equality?

Posted at 9:22 AM on July 16, 2009 by Julia Schrenkler

MPR's Tom Weber reports that, "A new report from the U.S. Education Department shows black students are scoring better in math and reading, but not enough to close a nationwide gap between them and white students." So there's change...but we're still pursuing how to close that gap further.

In the open discussion about closing the achievement gap, I noticed that the replies weren't about money but about educational structure and approach. For instance Julie Ann Dawson suggests raising the bar:

"Reward success. We don't reward success anymore.

Not to sound old, but when I was in high school, the honor roll was a real honor. Only about a dozen or so students ever made it.

Today, the 'honor roll' for most high schools is just about every kid that gets a passing grade. Because we don't want people to feel left out.

When there are school competitions, everyone gets an 'attendence' or 'participation' award. BS. Only reward exceptional work.

The problem is we don't reward success. We reward showing up. We have lowered the standard based on being inclusive, instead of holding a high standard that students would want to live up to."

Is it that simple? How does budgeting, testing, and curriculum fit into the gap? How do you believe we can close the gap?

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