The pandemic has shone a spotlight on inequality in America, especially in regards to education. The Achievement Gap is widening with school closures. Black and Hispanic students living in poverty are among the hardest hit. This will result in long-term economic costs for local and national communities. Articles, such as this one from McKinsey & Company and this one by The New York Times, outline the long-term consequences of the widening Achievement Gap.
Why is the Achievement Gap widening?
The Achievement Gap has been widening during the pandemic for a multitude of complex reasons. Black and Hispanic families in the U.S. suffer higher rates of infection and they have parents who are less likely to be able to work from home. Furthermore, children in poverty and children of color have less access to remote learning, lower quality remote instruction, less conducive learning environments, less home support, and lower engagement. Their families simply cannot afford to give constant parental academic supervision nor pay for outside academic assistance. These disproportionate learning losses for low-income minority students is compounding existing achievement gaps, leading many students to drop out.
Why is the Achievement Gap a concern?
The achievement gaps certainly raise moral questions for a society committed to the ideal of equal opportunity. But they also impose concrete economic costs. A widened Achievement Gap will likely result in:
More uneducated individuals who will be less likely to provide their future families with high-quality educational opportunities, continuing the cycle
More citizens earning less income and thus living in poverty with poorer health
Higher rates of incarceration
Less skilled, and thus less productive, future workforce
Less money spent by these individuals on products and services
There is a massive waste of human talent and opportunity that we risk if achievement gaps are not closed. We are still leaving behind whole groups of children. Furthermore, our failure to educate all our children to the highest levels means students in America overall are being left behind in a world where global competition is increasingly tough.
How can we help close the Achievement Gap?
Strengthening the educational achievement of our youth will provide economic stability for us and future generations. Many teachers and schools across the country are proving that race and poverty are not destiny; large steps forward are possible.
It is urgent that we intervene immediately to support the most vulnerable students. As state and local government budgets are being cut, school systems are struggling to do this alone. But you can help!
Our sister nonprofit organization Educate. Radiate. Elevate. strives to bridge the Achievement Gap. Students are nominated by people, schools, and/or organizations that can attest to their dedication and promise. Your tax-deductible donation will provide them with private tutors who will focus on assisting the student with academics and test prep, while also teaching them the underlying learning and life skills so that the student can excel in all class, in college, in their careers, and beyond. These include essential skills such as planning and prioritizing, time management, focus, creative problem solving, innovation, advocacy, and emotional intelligence.
By providing our youth with the tools to grow into successful contributing members of society, we are decreasing the Achievement Gap and making the monumental changes our world so desperately needs.