Local News

Educators Try to Bridge Achievement Gap Among Students

Posted February 2, 2001

— Educators say that while reform has helped N.C.'s public schools improve, it has not closed the gap between white and minority students. Teachers, parents and students met in Raleigh Saturday to talk about improving education for all Tar Heel children.

Only about 50 percent of the state's African-American students in grades three through eight are performing at grade-level, while 80 percent of white students are at grade-level. People at the brainstorming session wondered why that gap exists and what they could do to close it.

"I think some students, especially minorities, have low expectations of their own abilities and, unfortunately, sometimes teachers do, too," said teacher Teresa McLean. She sees the achievement gap in her own first-grade classroom.

Experts say teachers will play an important role in bridging the gap.

"If we don't prepare those teachers well, we can't expect much to come from the whole issue," said Marvin Pittman of theN.C. Dept. of Public Instruction. "We have to make sure teachers get the training and support that they need."

A statewide commission has been studying the achievement gap since August. The group will present its recommendations to the state Board of Education in April.


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