It Can Be Done! (But It’s Not Easy…)

Debunkers to arms! Wash. Post’s Dobbs takes a favorable look at Amistad Academy. Here’s another example of a school that is outpacing others, Roxbury Preparatory Charter in Boston. It’s not only outpacing nearby schools, but schools statewide. Note how the high minority Roxbury Prep stacks up against white students statewide in MA. (Ed Note: Now that Eduwonk has learned how to upload charts to blogger, look for plenty more!). The chart below shows Roxbury Prep’s students and statewide scores by subgroup.

Source: Roxbury Preparatory Charter. More data here from

However, per the Dobbs piece, isn’t it less “No Excuses” than “whatever it takes”? There is a difference. There are legitimate explanations for the achievement gap that go beyond schools (though schools often compound these issues), it’s just that these schools just don’t use them as a crutch or constraint. No excuses seems to overly simplify this work and imply that it’s only an issue of effort whereas what really makes these schools different is the entrepreneurial energy of the teachers and staff in terms of doing whatever it takes, including a variety of outside activities, to make the program work for kids. Sort of effort plus.

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