Haycock calls on both policy makers and educators to improve education across racial and socioeconomic divides
Friday, October 19, 2012
Haycock is the President of the Education Trust, a non-profit dedicated to promoting academic achievement among all students at all levels. She received an Honorary Doctorate at Lesley’s 2012 Commencement, and was invited to address Lesley’s Leadership Council - an organization of influential Lesley alumni and public-spirited leaders in Greater Boston and beyond.
Armed with a mountain of statistics, Haycock relayed that the long-valued American ideal that through hard work the next generation will exceed the quality of life of their parents is no longer true.
“It’s a powerful and pervasive narrative, but it’s no longer true,” Haycock said. “Income inequality is rising, and we now have the third highest income inequality in the world.” There have been gains in the achievement gap, she said, most notably in reading and math among fourth graders, but the gap in high school and college achievement between high and low income students have not shown improvement.
In noting the difference in education funding for low and high income school districts, Haycock noted “We take the kids who come to school with less, and we give them less in school too. Less of everything that research and experience tells us makes a difference. And when they don’t do as well, we blame everything else.”
But, while education funding is a policy issue, Haycock noted school-based decisions displaying lower expectations for students of color. Students of color, with similar or even higher math scores than their white counterparts, are placed in higher level math and advanced placement classes at a much lower rate.
“Yes, we have poverty, and it matters - but there are schools, districts doing a lot better,” she said. In displaying a graph correlating lower achievement with economic status, she drew attention to the schools outside the cluster, bucking the trend. “As schools get poorer, achievement decreases — but where does your eye go? Do you see the line or the exceptions to that trend and what can we learn from them."
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