Closing the Achievement Gap
States are currently facing one of the most pressing concerns in education, the achievement gap. In education, the “achievement gap” refers to the disparity in academic achievement between minority and disadvantaged students and their white counterparts. The achievement gap is evident in grades, standardized-test scores, course selection, dropout rates, and college-completion rates. To close the achievement gap states must implement early childhood care and education programs, recruit and retain qualified teachers, and invest in extra learning programs.
Early childhood care and education are the building blocks of school readiness for children, that will help close the achievement gap. During their first five years of life, children develop basic learning patterns and abilities that they will use for the rest of their lives. Deficits in school achievement can be caused by children who face hardships their first five years of life, because they are more prone to developmental delays. These hardships include a lack of stable nurturing relationships with parents and caregivers, poor access to healthcare and proper nutrition, and little exposure to age-appropriate learning activities. Studies have been conducted and proven that early childhood care and education leads to emotional and cognitive development and better health. “Studies such as the Abecedarian Project and the Chicago Child-Parent Center Longitudinal Study show that children exposed to a nurturing, stimulating environment in the first five years of life achieve higher results in elementary and secondary education” (Early Childhood Care and Education, year). These children have an advantage to grow up and become successful adults. The Abecedarian Project and the Chicago Child-Parent Center Longitudinal Study also “… shows that high-quality childcare settings improve a child’s classroom, social, and thinking skills; language ability; and math skills” (Early Childhood...
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