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According to a new report, education officials are largely failing to close the achievement gap between rich and poor students, but many are making progress, Education News reports.

The study finds that only two out of 10 low-income students in big cities attend public schools that have closed the academic divide.

Education Cities founder and CEO Ethan Gray, whose organization co-authored the report, wrote in the foreword of the study:

“We should be frustrated that the achievement gap is pervasive and growing in nearly half of the largest 100 U.S. cities. We should be hopeful because in nearly every city, schools are working to close or have closed the achievement gap. And we should be determined to learn from these schools and their great educators, and commit to ensuring more children can access gap-closing schools each and every year.”

The report, titled Education Equality in America, is a collaboration between Education Cities and Great Schools. The groups say it’s the first comparative national tool to examine the socio-economic achievement gap.

They developed a formula to rank the achievement gap based on data of 42 states, 15,000 cities, 78,000 schools, and 43,000,000 students. The report focused on family income—not race or ethnicity.

According to the study, almost all major cities have a “large or massive achievement gap.” But the cities with the smallest divides in 2014 are Hialeah, Fla., Gilbert, Ariz., and Miami. New York City and San Francisco were also in the top 10.

From 2011 to 2014, the gulf stagnated or grew. But low-income students managed to climb toward parity in many cases. During that three-year stretch, the top cities were Omaha, Neb., Denver, and Norfolk, Va. At the state level, New Mexico, Florida, and Arizona made the most progress.

Samantha Brown Olivieri, the vice president for data strategy at Great Schools, made this press statement, via Education News:

“People are working tirelessly in communities across the country to improve educational opportunity, particularly for underserved kids. But far too often these efforts can be siloed, fragmented, making people feel like they have to reinvent the wheel.

Olivieri said this study offers a tool to begin a national dialogue on how low-income students can better achieve academic parity with their affluent peers.

SOURCE: Education News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty


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