February 26, 2014

Achievement Gap Panel

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An enthusiastic, standing-room-only crowd of K-12 stakeholders (teacher licensure candidates, faculty, teachers, administrators, and community leaders) gathered at Hamline to discuss important issues surrounding the achievement gap in schools and what can be done to close that gap. The event featured a panel of speakers who see consequences of the achievement gap everyday: Craig Anderson, principal of Hamline Elementary School; Stanley Brown, coordinator of equity and inclusion at Hopkins High School; Patrick Duffy, principal of Clara Barton Open School; and Stacie Stanley, principal of Central Park Elementary School.

"We have to have courageous conversations about this," Duffy said. "We need to go beyond courage in Minnesota, we need to go beyond passion and courage and develop systems for equity."

The event aimed to explore two main questions: "What do we see as the critical factors affecting this achievement gap?" and "What efforts are being made toward closing the gap?" Educators agreed that there are even differences in how groups label the disparity between white students and student of color. Many label it the 'achievement gap,' but others define it as the 'racial predictability of achievement.'

"We need to have these kinds of conversations as often as we can and we need to take these conversations back to our buildings with fidelity. We need this conversation to go on and on and on," Brown said. "You cannot teach if you cannot love,” he added, which received a passionate response from the audience.

The event was sponsored by Hamline's School of Education, Center for Excellence in Urban Teaching, and the Social Justice Program in the College of Liberal Arts. See photos from the event on the Hamline School of Education Facebook page.