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Why achievement gaps should never be abolished

by Mingjie Jiang
Apr 26, 2017
 · 5 minutes read

Alright, finally got some spare time in this busy AP review week.

After the SMOB (Student Member of the Board) voting this Wednesday held at our school district, I found a point that both candidates addressed very interesting: achievement gaps.

After discussing this idea with some of my friends, I wrote a short opinion post:

I feel like people have been viewing this entire situation wrong. Let’s define the word "achievement gap" first:

The term achievement gap is used to refer to the observed, persistent disparity of educational measures between the performance of groups of students, especially groups defined by socioeconomic status (SES), race/ethnicity and gender. (Wikipedia)

Ah. "Performance groups".

Analyzing what they are trying to do…

So let’s suppose the school does not want to intentionally classify people into top, moderate, and bottom groups because as some random policies say, every student has to be treated fairly. But here, for clarifying purposes, let’s use the letter grades A, B, and C, where C indicates failure.

The school is basically trying to fix this polarized score range of people – their original goal is to sustain the A students and bring the C students up to at least a B. But this does not apply to all C students – according to the word usage of "achievement gap", this goal only applies to the C students who has a disadvantage on either "socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, [or] gender".

But soon they’ll find out that it is just impossible to bring up the C students, because of the simple fact that they are never challenged by these issues included in the definition.

* All opinions and facts are written only the Montgomery County locally.

Socioeconomic Status (SES)

Another human readable phrase to define this is just financially challenged.

But I believe at least in Montgomery County, the special programs provided the most for those in need. At schools we have FARM, computers and free internet available to everyone, shared textbooks, calculators, media center printers, and so much more. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I just can’t think of anything else we can better assist those who are financially challenged other than "hey, you know what? We should provide extra points for the needy."

So, how is socioeconomic status a problem then? Funding shouldn’t be an issue – especially for a school district that is running a TV station that nobody cares about. To better support the programs, the county can cut unnecessary spending on so many things that’s minor to a fair education.


* No racism intended.

Whoa, let’s talk about both the so-called "positive" side and the so-called “negative” side of this argument. The "positive" side appears to be a certain race that is identified as "way too smart" – Asians. I thought I’ve explained enough about why Asians are getting better scores: it’s not about how much IQ they were born with, but about the family culture and expectations. You can read my archived blogs for this part, TL;DR it only about how parents set expectations for their children.

Yes, I know that rich families and Asian families may offer their kids more after school classes for extra stuff to learn about. But these courses are often not related to the school curriculum, and students are always able to ask for help from any teacher of any subject that they wanted more practice on.

Researches have shown that Asian parents generally care about their children’s school reports more than parents of other races. So there is no such thing as "born with the intelligence" – theoretically everyone can be Einstein.

Genius is 1% talent and 99% percent hard work (Albert Einstein)

And the negatives. Some races, however, has been classified as "stupid" as a whole. Despite the fact that you cannot classify a certain group of people just by "outstanding" examples, things can, however, turn out to be true.


Looking at the Wootton High School At A Glance report, you can clearly see that there is a huge gap between different races. Some races are having less percentage of people passing geometry than the special education kids. But think about this, is it really the race itself that’s causing the problem? Or is it how much time you are willing to invest in “trying hard”…


I really don’t know what to say about this. As far as I can see there is no clear difference between the education of male students and female students, and even for those who identifies themselves as non-binaries, I don’t see why they can get treated differently on education. Leave these problems for the society and local governments – not something that the school districts should be concerning about.

And I just found this blog post by the county board posted in 2015. The fact that they clearly stated out "develop an action plan to communicate and advocate for African American students" made it much easier to explain. In all, everything can be concluded with "if they don’t even care about learning themselves, why try?"

I suggest the county to put more work on fixing their dumb curriculum and course requirements. A lot of people do agree with me that instead of putting millions of dollars into educating those who do not want to learn, the government and board should really care about how to let the students go with their own interests and make the pathways more customizable for individual students.

This article might look a little bit disorganized, but thanks for finishing it.

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