October 11, 2006

Achievement Gap Idiocy

Today's profiles in educrat idiocy comes courtesy of Carlos Garcia, former school district superintendent and current vice president of urban markets for McGraw-Hill Education, who when asked if the achievement gap was due to I.Q. differences responded:
The achievement gap generally occurs between students from differing socioeconomic backgrounds. We must not forget that every minority group and every socioeconomic classification has children from the full range of IQ levels. Yet, far too many students from minorities or poor homes perform at lower levels so I believe I.Q. has little to do with the gap.Further, I believe that nearly every child can learn to read and to perform math skills.
Data analysis illiteracy in all its glory. If Carlos actually checked the means of the IQs of the low-SES kids and the high-SES kids he would have seen that the low SES had IQs considerably lower than the high-SES kids. For example, kids coming from low SES families (a standard deviation below the mean) tend to have IQs 12 points lower than kids from high SES families (a standard deviation above the mean). Who do you think is easier to teach?

And while it's true that "nearly every child can learn to read and to perform math skills" some kids need very good teaching to get there while others will reach that point with little difficulty and regardless of the teaching. Few schools are able to teach with sufficient effectiveness to reach the former group. That's why the achievement gap persists.


1 comment:

SteveH said...

"I believe that nearly every child can learn to read and to perform math skills."

This level is so very low that not meeting this expectation has very little to do with IQ and very much to do with bad teaching and curricula. So, if C.G. believes that there is no IQ influence in the "gap", then that puts him in a more difficult position for explaining the gap and the bad results. Must be external forces and lack of money. Yeah! That's the ticket!