Let's Stop Calling it an Achievement Gap

How Public Education in the United States Maintains Disparate Educational Experiences for Students of Color

Autumn A. Arnett

A volume in the series: Contemporary Perspectives on Access, Equity, and Achievement. Editor(s): Chance W. Lewis, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Published 2019

Between 1980 and 2005, 45 states were involved in lawsuits around equity of funding and adequacy of education provided to all students in the state. Indeed, this investigation could have included any cities in America, and the themes likely would have been the same: Lower funding and resources, disproportionate numbers of teachers and school leaders who do not look like the students they serve, debates over the public’s responsibility to provide fair and equitable education for all students in the jurisdiction, implicit biases from the top to the bottom and a resegregation of schools in America.

Integration for Black families was never about an idea that Black students were better off if they could be around White students, it was about the idea that Black students would be better off if they could have access to the same education that White students had — but residential segregation still enables de facto school segregation, when it isn’t coded into policy.

For the overwhelming majority of Black students, they’re stuck in segregated, underperforming schools. Schools where the teachers are dedicated to the mission, but where the cities and districts and states have failed to uphold their basic responsibility to maintain the upkeep of the schools and provide enough desks for each child and current textbooks.

Acknowledgments. Introduction. CHAPTER 1: Atlanta: “A City Full of College” Its Students Can’t Access with introduction by Dr. Angela Williams. CHAPTER 2: Baltimore: “Turning Trauma into Power to Change the World” with introduction by LaQuisha Hall. CHAPTER 3: Birmingham: “Segregation Forever” and the Impact of Suburban Flight with introduction by Sandra K. Brown. CHAPTER 4: Charlotte: “The Fleecing of the Urban School District” with introduction by Gregory “Dee” Rankin. CHAPTER 5: Chicago: Extreme Decentralization and an Investment in Principals with introduction by Bryan Echols. MA. CHAPTER 6: Dallas: All Hands on Deck to Ensure Smoother Hand-Offs Between Schools and the Workforce with introduction by Dr. Michael J. Sorrell and Kerry L. Condon. CHAPTER 7: Houston: Lost Economic Opportunities a Wake-Up Call to City Leaders with introduction by Dr. Kelly A. Brown. CHAPTER 8: Milwaukee: “We Don’t Have Failed Schools. We Have Failed Communities” with introduction by Rashida A. Evans. CHAPTER 9: New Orleans: A Total Eclipse of Local Control- and How Reform Efforts Have Failed Our Students with introduction by Dr. Henderson Lewis. Jr. CHAPTER 10: Philadelphia: Social Justice as Racial Justice and Educators’ Fight to Take Back to Take Back Their City with introduction by Sharif El-Mekki. Conclusion. About the Authors.