Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


Pamela Scott


The educational gap in student achievement is steadily broadening among the various disaggregated groups throughout our nation’s public schools. School administrators, teachers, politicians, and other stakeholders are scampering about trying to find a solution to this ever-growing problem. Unfortunately, they are looking for the answer in all the wrong places. In fact, the answer to this crisis in America’s public school system lies in a series of questions. School administrators and teachers need only to address the following in order to effectively provide students with a quality education: What do race and ethnicity have to do with students’ ability to read and write? How does gender factor into students academic potential? How can an interest in the same-sex prevent a student from learning? What is the educational relevance of labeling students as economically disadvantaged? With the advancement in technology and a plethora of available resources, how is it possible to allow language barriers to stifle student achievement? Does such categorization cast these students into the proverbial corner of low achievers before they have a chance to prove otherwise? Instead of allowing pre-assessments and diagnostic exams to inform them of students’ academic strengths and weaknesses, principals and teachers have allowed these biases to cripple the learning process in America’s public school system. In essence, one can succinctly summarize the aforementioned questions into one answer: Is it diversity that adversely impacts student achievement or the discriminatory beliefs of school administrators and teachers that serve as monumental stumbling blocks to the right of every American student to be afforded a quality, public education that is culturally, mentally, emotionally, socially, and physically inclusive?


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