Earlier today, Parker posted an important chart showing test scores from Ingraham High School in Seattle where white kids do fairly well and minority students don’t. Schools like this are not the focus of “turnaround” efforts and though they may get in trouble for failing to meet AYP, there is little public will to fire the principal or to close the school. Yet schools like Ingraham obviously have work to do, whether it’s making sure the neediest students get the best teachers, employing technology or other innovations to reach struggling students, or making sure the culture of the schools means that no student will be left behind, whatever it takes. Often these “hidden gap” schools are in suburban or middle class neighborhoods where minority presence is growing quickly without a plan in place for how to create equity within each school. No Child Left Behind exposed some of these schools by requiring schools report test scores by subgroups like race, but the required intervention, money for tutoring, was a superficial answer. As Bryan Hassel of Public Impact recently told me, there’s little research or guidance available to help these schools so right now all we can do is speculate about what might work best. This is an issue that needs foundation investment in research and more policy attention at the local, state, and federal levels.
– Robin Lake