Academic Leadership Journal


Marcia Heiman


As a result of school reform efforts, many school districts report that gains have been made in students’ math scores in the elementary years. But America’s high-poverty middle and high schools remain in crisis. Beyond the elementary years, students in the nation’s high-poverty schools are failing. For example, despite years of school reform, math achievement in Detroit has declined in the last five years. For example, 25% of Detroit’s high school students scored proficiently on statewide math tests in 2004 – as compared with only 16% in the most recent reports. ( www.schoolmatters.com). At the end of high school, Hispanic students’ reading and mathematical skills are comparable to those of white 13 year olds (Keller and Garcia, 2006). And in many areas, the achievement gap between black and white students has actually widened in recent years (Loveless, 2007).