At last... researchers in Boston are talking about the "opportunity gap" rather than just the "achievement gap." An Annenberg Institute study, released in November, revealed stark opportunity gaps and a separate, lesser educational track for black and Latino males in Boston.
Black and Latino males collectively make up about 78 percent of Boston schools’ male population. At every stage of education, black and Latino males have limited access to rigorous coursework such as advanced work classes, elite exam schools and college readiness curricula. As a result, the report says, black and Latino males in Boston schools have lower attendance rates, higher suspension and dropout rates, lower proficiency rates and lower graduation rates than peers. -- Learning LabAnother recent study authored by UC Berkeley prof, Bruce Fuller, found that a significant percentage of Mexican-American children who matched their white counterparts in cognitive growth at 9 months of age had fallen behind by the time the children reached 2 years old.
These findings exist even though other research has found that based on other measures, such as social and emotional growth and physical health, young Mexican-American children are quite similar to white children.
"These youngsters grow up in warm and supportive families and that yields emotional and social agility," Fuller said in an interview. "But all that caring and support isn't necessarily infused with rich language and asking kids questions and asking kids to articulate words and their own feelings."Mexican-American children who demonstrated strong cognitive growth in the study were more likely to have had mothers who had completed some college, worked outside the home, and read to their children daily, the study found.
Fuller's conclusions reflect his own racial bias as well. They reflect a whitenized vision of what good parenting is. Omit assets Mexican-American children carry with them.
Studies like these shine a light on the process of systemic social reproduction, meaning the structures and activities that transmit social inequality from one generation to the next.
For example, our increased reliance on standardized testing as the indicator of "student achievement" only serves to maintain social and economic inequality. Higher education, rather than being the great social equalizer, threatens to become the great gate keeper as tests are used increasingly to sort and track kids rather than diagnostic tools for educators. Poverty and racial discrimination are seen simply as a "excuses" for poor performance.