Stop calling it the ‘achievement gap’

In a recent press release on test scores Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) betrays why it is unable — indeed, unwilling — to solve what it insists on labeling “the achievement gap.” Why? Because the district blames the students.

For years now, educators who care about solving the underlying issue have understood that the label “achievement gap” shifts the blame and burden from the institution to students, while the term “opportunity gap” addresses the real differences between middle-class and low-income schools and the students who attend them.

That AUSD continues to use the outdated term betrays its unwillingness to take accountability for the opportunity gap, belies its slogan “Excellence and Equity for All Students,” and makes mockery of the district’s, and its obsequious community boosters’, pious claims of a progressive, 21st-century school district.

Stop calling it the “achievement gap,” and acknowledge the gap in opportunity for which AUSD is responsible.


David Howard