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What’s Really Behind the ‘Achievement Gap’

Rachel Herzfeldt-Kamprath and Maryam Adamu discuss inequality, opportunity gaps, and the importance of high-quality early learning in the U.S. education system.

You may be familiar with the achievement gap — it’s the disparities in test scores between white children and their peers of color, which follow children for most of their school careers. The achievement gap is the ubiquitous shorthand used by politicians, policymakers, and parents to discuss the ways in which inequality manifests itself in our education system.

Indeed, the impact of inequality can be seen in children as young as two. But conversations that focus on the achievement gap are misleading at best. In reality, the so-called achievement gap stems from the opportunity gap that exists between children of different races and socio-economic backgrounds, often affecting them before they are born. The achievement gap is a symptom of a long history of policy failures that perpetuate inequitable outcomes.

The above excerpt was originally published in Medium. Click here to view the full article.

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Rachel Herzfeldt-Kamprath

Policy Analyst

Maryam Adamu

Research Associate