Minneapolis teacher: Achievement gap? More like a reward gap

  • Article by: Eva Lockhart
  • Updated: March 22, 2013 - 6:23 PM

A dedicated Minneapolis student beats personal odds, but is stymied by the system.

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lechevalier5Mar. 22, 13 6:57 PM

You have to remember that in a two class system, like America, only the members of the upper class get rewards. The lower class peasants get to "eat cake".

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athe0007Mar. 22, 13 7:09 PM

The achievement gap is a result of the way the system is intentionally structured as your story illustrates. Our educational system is designed to maintain class boundaries.

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bderoyMar. 22, 13 7:14 PM

I;m a 92 Henry grad and back then, if "Malik" were a person of color, there'd be a slew of scholarships available. In fact, I recall my counselor saying how there were more scholarships than kids who were "eligible." But if "Malik" is in fact doing this well, working this hard, I would hope there are enough big companies and colleges in MN to help out. The community colleges have plenty of assistance for financial and merit based needs.

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JvonkorffMar. 22, 13 8:12 PM

There's something missing in this story. Can someone provide the names of the colleges he was admitted to? Presumably, Malik has been admitted to some colleges, and for some reasons, these schools are not providing scholarship assistance. Is this a problem with someone telling him to apply to colleges that don't provide need based financial aid?

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elmore1Mar. 22, 13 8:45 PM

Sounds like a great person who will eventually find the opportunity. The problem is mostly due to the colleges not taking action to control their costs. Too often the colleges are about the faculty and not the students. We should cut back faculty and operating costs to make more money available for deserving students like this. They have already pushed tuition over the breaking point.

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FrankLMar. 22, 13 9:06 PM

Why do I get the feeling I am not getting the whole story? Yes it is tough to get a free ride, but it would seem some schools would step up with aid.

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sarah626Mar. 22, 13 9:12 PM

I teach in a high poverty school. This is a classic example of the "Matthew Effect." I think what's hard for some people to understand is the extreme lack of opportunity for these kids.

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ubetcha101Mar. 22, 13 9:34 PM

So are you saying that if more things were free in the USA people of color would thrive. I would suggest differently.

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chaskahighschoolMar. 22, 13 9:50 PM

I am a high school teacher as well and this story, sadly, is totally believable... those who say "I feel like I'm not getting the full story" -- you're right... the full story is there are dozens more Maliks out there. I teach some of them.... they are hard working (in the classroom and at their jobs), smart, articulate, amazing individuals, but they are poor. They come from poor families and the resources are not there for them. Yet, some of my more mediocre students, who happen to be middle class or above, seem to be doing just fine in getting money and scholarships. There is a problem.

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jim2011beamMar. 22, 13 9:54 PM

Eva - Here are the things you said: Have I mentioned that he has no idea how he is going to pay for college, and that he is unwilling to acquire a mountain of debt in order to do so? Have I mentioned that he has applied for nearly 20 scholarships and thus far has been met only with rejection? So here's a clue for you Eva: If "he's good at math" and "works hard" but doesn't know how to pay for college then he's not as smart as you say he is and you're not helping him. He'll have to work just as he has been doing and go to college a few credits at a time just like many of the rest of us did. The difference is that High School is free (paid for by taxpayers), college costs money (but also subsidized by taxpayers). So the thing to do is look for a good school that is less expensive. Forget Harvard, Stanford, Macalester and the U - all too expensive. Tell him about our community colleges, tell him about MOOCs which are free, tell him free money doesn't rain down on your head just because you have some talent. Tell him that if he can prove himself at a community college and if he has no other way to get his degree then he should consider student loans. Tell him it's not a mountain of debt. Tell him its manageable debt IF he gets a degree in something useful and if he doesn't overspend. Stop filling his head with dreams of free this and free that. Tell him that at the college level he must work even harder than he does now but if he does he will achieve whatever he wants. Students like this do just fine after they ignore teachers and guidance counselors who tell them a college education should be handed to them at no cost.

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