The Achievement Gap
Achievement always comes with a “gap.” There will always be those who achieve, thus leaving behind, sometimes way behind, those who do not.
Why is it that in regard to the achievement of some youngsters in school, we speak of the gap between their achievement and the lesser or even non achievement of their classmates? Why has this become such a hot button topic and problem?
In fact, there are achievement gaps everywhere you look, and most of them are accepted as being quite normal.
Take chess players, basketball players, runners, nuclear physicists, microbiologists, in fact most everyone who in some one occupation achieves at a level that others cannot match.
Furthermore, who ever would go to great efforts to overcome the gap between the achievement of particular individuals in their one specialty area, and the much lesser, probably non achievement of everyone else in that same area? No one has ever tried to help me lessen the achievement gap, say that between me and Luciano Pavarotti, or me and Gary Kasparov.
No Child Left Behind
In respect to being “left behind,” well I’ve been left behind by practically everyone of my generation in one or more respects. A single school reunion is always enough to convince me of that. In fact, it’s rare for me to ever see myself as not having been left behind.
So why the “no child left behind” mantra of the professional school people? Don’t we just create thereby unsolvable problems for ourselves? For there will always be those who are left behind, in fact most of us.
The School Dropout
The “school dropout” is also of our own creation. Unnecessary. There was no reason to stigmatize in this manner children who decided that school wasn’t for them. Does anyone really believe that school is for everyone? Those whose livelihood comes from the schools, the school administrators, teachers, and school board members may act, even believe that all children should be in school, but does that make it so?
Along with the “achievement gap” and the “no child left behind” we ought to banish from our discussions about kids and schools the “school dropout.”
The school dropout is a problem only because we have for some reason laid down the law that all youngsters have to remain in school for some number of years. Why? Were we afraid that they might become free thinking individuals and start a business, or career, simply travel, get a job, write a poem or paint a picture?