Friday, February 8, 2013

The "Achievement Gap"- A Seductive but Dangerous Euphemism for Poverty and Inequality.

Any time I see an advertisement or a fundraising appeal for an organization whose goal is to shrink the "achievement gap,' I immediately put that organization on my personal "enemies list." *******No phrase is more symbolic of our society's efforts to avoid dealing with real life impact and consequences of rapidly growing poverty and inequality, which arrogantly presumes a profound collective tragedy can be eased by raising test scores. *******The "achievement gap" is a form of linguistic magic that erases what it means to be young and poor in the United States, and the stress that fear that involves, such as ******worrying when the lights and gas are going to be turned off ******or whether you are going to be evicted from your apartment *******or whether you are going to eat during the weekend when there ******is no longer breakfast or lunch in school ******or whether it is safe to walk to the corner store in the new neighborhood which you've moved ******or whether the boarder your mom or grandma just took in because they need help to pay the rent is going to molest you *******Or whether you can ever sleep or do homework because there are 18 people living in an apartment meant for 8 and there is constant yelling and screaming *******or whether your mom is gong to have a heart attack or nervous breakdown because she is working three jobs to keep you and your brothers and sisters fed and clothed *******or whether you will ever be able to get the glasses you need to see the blackboard in school or treatment for your asthma ******or what you are going to say when your brother gets out of prison and goes back to selling drugs when he can't find a job. ******* or whether you are going to be thrown against the wall and frisked by police when you are going to the schoolyard to play ball *******Achievement Gap! As if some how all these things that are happening to you are a result of low test scores and can be magically erased if those scores are improved. ********There is no euphemism for poverty. It is numbingly, brutally real and affects those trapped in it in every moment of their lives. ********I propose banning the term " the Achievement Gap" and instead start talking about the Wealth Gap, the Wage Gap, the Nutrition Gap, the Housing Gap, the Opportunity Gap and all the other real life inequalities that deform and corrupt our social order

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