Achievement Gaps

Kendrè Crawford- Blue
Junior, UPrep

Race is the ultimate outcome in today’s public education system.

Especially with more than half of  Pittsburgh’s Public School district being African American, 55% to be exact. With the achievement gap being one of the five key focus points of The State of the District meeting it seems to be one of the most critical areas of interest. Studies show that from the 2008-09 to the 2011-12 school years on average 30% more white students have been “Promise-Ready”  or meet the 2.5 GPA 90% attendance requirement. That’s the bare minimum. If they’re in the same classroom, learning the same curriculum how is that even possible? 

The District sets out plenty of plans to decrease this gap but the gap doesn’t seem to budge. You set these goals that should be achieved within a certain amount of years but what about the African American kids who are in school now. If you don’t do something now more and more kids will slowly fall behind. What about my niece and nephews who are the future of not only you but me as well? You shouldn’t have to have professional development for teachers to better understand how to teach a black kid. Race is a significant issue but why does it always have to come down to a black student and a white student. You now want to implement these effective teacher plans but if you would have done that years and years ago race wouldn’t be an issue. 

If you would stop and find out what’s best for us students then maybe something would change. Closing school after school and pushing students into neighborhood schools that aren’t their own isn’t helping. Stop preparing our district for show and tell. Don’t worry about the people on the outside looking in. Worry about the students on the inside struggling to make it out.

I’m tired of race always being the first and last thing being thrown on the table. I’m a young black African American female who just happens to be above the measly 2.5 GPA Promise Ready requirements. Even though you have waited so long to realize that these gaps aren’t a joke I still commend you. 

The District’s slogan is “The Pathway to the Promise.” You throw on our report card whether we’re “Promise-Ready” or not and expect us to meet these average standards. You don’t throw out any challenges. Here we are Junior year, crunch time. With most students being the first in their family to go to college, they are only left with whether they are “Promise-Ready” or not. 

I commend you for implementing these many plans, but there’s so much more to it. Once again if you would stop preparing our district for show and tell then you would understand continually changing the District’s curricula, giving teachers a little PD, and telling whether we meet some witless standards is not what’s going to give you an effective first choice district. Stop blaming family background and newbie hood involvement. Just consider the student for just two seconds. Consider the fact that students will be in your place one day. Students are your future. Come a little harder if you really want to make a change. We want an educated diverse world. We all want to be on the Pathway to and past the Promise.

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