Week Four - Cincinnati Success
Cincinnati Success Story
The achievement gap is an issue of equity of opportunity and has been a term that many educators are family with, but it is still one of those topics that we seem to talk more about and have yet to make serious inroads. Educational attainment is the one proven factor that is known to provide a pathway to greater equality in opportunities for income, jobs, and overall quality of life and well- being. The achievement gap is an issue that affects not only the economy of our country, but the very fabric of our communities in which we live. It is an issue that impacts all of us, not just educators but all members of society.
One urban school district that has demonstrated success with closing the achievement gap is in Cincinnati, Ohio. Over a decade, Cincinnati Public Schools’ graduation rate has jumped from 50 to 80 percent. And in the past five years, the reading and math proficiency of its elementary students has climbed in many schools. Those gains have been fueled by big improvements in the performance of black students, who make up more than half of the district’s 30,000 students. In 2006, 2007 and 2010, black students’ graduation rates surpassed those of whites. So how did they do it? Cincinnati attributes its success to various measures that ensure its poorest, most needy students receive the basics in the classroom and out, including free tutoring, community mentoring, and food and health care, all at no cost. Businesses routinely answer the call for funding and volunteers, often working through the various local nonprofits that support the students in the community. While the school district has succeeded at narrowing achievement gaps at many grade levels, black kindergarten students enter school far behind their white peers, and they continue to work with Pre-K centers throughout the city to address these areas of concern. It truly shows that when an entire community rally around a cause it will benefit the students in the school district, and society as a whole. These measures should be replicated in district across the country!