The Achievement Gap Before Kindergarten
If this report from the U. S. Department of Education about the existence of a significant achievement gap between black and white children before kindergarten is even 50% accurate, it should disturb us all. I learned of the report from the November 19, 2009 online publication Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (see enclosure) and the gaps are in such fundamental skills as letter recognition, reading, vocabulary, elementary phonics, recognition of shapes, counting, and other basic math.
This suggests a serious lack of attention and direction at home and, even more frightening, the possible inability of parents to teach such skills. Whatever the causes, this demands intervention and remediation.
Maybe it is time again for community service organizations to step in.
What if black churches, fraternal and sororal groups, local school and college volunteers could/would offer simple skills tests to children to identify their shortcomings and then work with individual children (or small groups) to shore up those skills? It has been done in the past and with sufficient will, can be done again.
Embarrassment, ridicule and lack of self-esteem gnaws at the gut of young children and the harm done is sometimes irreparable. In our society where literacy and technical skills are the mother’s milk of advancement, failure so early in life can too often induce bitterness, dysfunction and disaster.
Somehow we must control and eventually douse this flame; otherwise it becomes an inferno that might consume us all.