Monday, September 29, 2003

Group tackles gap in learning

Study: Poor, minorities lag

The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - The Kentucky Human Rights Commission is the latest group to weigh in on the issue of an academic "achievement gap."

The commission, in a study of 12 school districts being released today, said it found marked differences in test scores between most white students and those with disabilities and limited English proficiency.

Students who lag also tend to be poor, and from racial and ethnic minority groups, the study concludes.

"Black children, Hispanic children are just not succeeding" at acceptable rates, Beverly Watts, the commission's executive director, said.

None of which was startling to officials at the Kentucky Department of Education. "We agree that this is a problem, but it is not a new problem," department spokeswoman Lisa Gross said.

The achievement gap has gotten increased attention in the last two years. The General Assembly last year decreed that test data should be broken down to show results by race, gender and socioeconomic group.

In addition, the new federal education law known as No Child Left Behind holds states responsible for ensuring that all categories of students are making "adequate yearly progress." In Kentucky's case, schools had been required to demonstrate overall progress.

The commission criticized the Department of Education for being "more passive than active." It said the agency needs to be more of "an organization that spearheads a concerted statewide endeavor to close the gaps."

"Closing the achievement gaps between various groups of Kentucky's public school students is not only an issue of their performance, but also is a civil rights issue. Especially when most of the affected students are from protected groups such as disabled students and minority students," the report said.

Districts included in the study were Jefferson County, Fayette County, Bardstown, Bowling Green, Covington, Christian County, Hardin County, Hazard, Henderson County, Owensboro, Paducah and Shelby County.


On the Net: Human Rights Commission:

Amos: Longtime cashier is sold on union membership

High cost of I-75 fix could shelve other plans
Armed activists say guns protect
Norwood emerges as office magnet
No school today in Kings
The proof is in the putting? Yes, indeed

AIDS privacy law argued
Columbia Park's memory honored
4-H adviser keeps head in the clouds
Students building skills for working
Sea cow shuffle in the works
Ropin' Rockets perform
Visitors keep farm afloat
Waste water plant opposed
Regional Report

Arthur Hoffheimer served many volunteer organizations
Harriet Rauh, 94, was longtime arts supporter

Animal ashes spread on farm; some look askance
State fair procedures remain
Smoke bans pushed in Ohio

Team's goodbye poignant
And the winning student is ...
Group tackles gap in learning
Bald eagle dies from West Nile

Sunday's local news report