A Reader Reports The “Closing” Of The Racial Achievement Gap–According To USA TODAY

From; An Anonymous, But Very Skeptical Reader [Email Him]

In a school district near Boston, blacks out scored all white schools in MA and it wasn’t close. Why is this not front page? The blacks were 95% proficient and 63% advanced. This was compared to “tony” (I guess white) schools averaging 85/50.

They had the gall to put this in one of the major papers in the nation (USA Today).[Schools choose adults over kids, by Richard Whitmire, July 10, 2014] Wouldn’t it be a great way to teach race reality if an enterprising researcher with some connections in the area asked to see the actual students’ papers (fat chance) or asked for a re-test (fat chance). The certain refusal would be a story in itself.

James Fulford writes: A claim to have closed the “racial achievement gap” with superior teaching skills is, as the reader suggests, as intrinsically unlikely as claims to have discovered perpetual motion,   cold fusion, or psychic powers.

As with the above examples, such claims tend to be the result of either wishful thinking or fraud. A recent notorious example of fraud is the Atlanta Public School Scandals.

The New Yorker has a story with details of the cheating:

One afternoon in the spring of 2006, Damany Lewis, a math teacher at Parks Middle School, in Atlanta, unlocked the room where standardized tests were kept. It was the week before his students took the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, which determined whether schools in Georgia had met federal standards of achievement. The tests were wrapped in cellophane and stacked in cardboard boxes. Lewis, a slim twenty-nine-year-old with dreadlocks, contemplated opening the test with scissors, but he thought his cut marks would be too obvious. Instead, he left the school, walked to the corner store, and bought a razor blade. When he returned, he slit open the cellophane and gently pulled a test book from its wrapping. Then he used a lighter to warm the razor, which he wedged under the adhesive sealing the booklet, and peeled back the tab.

Wrong Answer | In an era of high-stakes testing, a struggling school made a shocking choice, , By Rachel Aviv, July 21, 2014

For a while, students at Damany Lewis’s school were able to say they had closed the gap, too.