Letter: Achievement gap is real; working to fix it is certainly worthwhile

Published: Monday, March 11 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

Utah lawmakers nixed a bill, SB71, to provide pre-school for at-risk kids.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

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In Sen. Margaret Dayton's explanation of why she voted to kill a bill that would have expanded preschool for at-risk kids, she said that trying to close the achievement gap between low and high performing students is not "a noble goal" because students should be allowed to learn at their own pace.

Minority students are over-represented among low achievers, so it seems she is insinuating that minority students are incapable of learning as fast or as well as their white, middle-class peers. I want to believe that her opinion is simply ill-informed and poorly worded, but it sure smells like racism to me. As a teacher who works in a school whose top priority is to close the achievement gap, we examine the practices of numerous schools across the nation who have had success in this endeavor. Whether or not working to make at-risk students academically proficient and more likely to graduate is "noble," it is achievable and certainly worthwhile.

Michael Denker

Salt Lake City

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