CONTACT: Pavi’Elle Phillips
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF DR. STEVE GALLON III
February 11, 2021,
At the School Board Meeting of February 10, 2021, the Miami-Dade County School Board unanimously approved agenda item H-21 that calls for a renewed focus on closing the achievement gap in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The item was co-sponsored by Ms. Perla Tabares Hantman, Ms. Lucia Baez-Geller, Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, Ms. Maria Teresa Rojas, and Ms. Luisa Santos. The “achievement gap” is one of the most widely discussed, yet intractable issues in public education. It refers to the disparity in academic performance between different groups of students and shows up in student grades, standardized-test scores, course selection, dropout rates, and college and career technical education (CTE) participation and completion rates, among other measures of learning and academic success. In the context of educational practice and policy, it is most often used to describe the vexing, obstinate performance gaps between Black and Hispanic students, at the lower end of the performance scale, and their non-Hispanic white peers, as well as the academic disparity between students from low-income families and those from middle to rich income.
Over the past decade, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), along with educators, researchers, scholars, organizations, activists, and policymakers have focused on addressing the achievement gap. In doing so, many have expanded their focus and attention on other achievement gaps, such as those based on gender, English-language proficiency, immigration status, and learning disabilities. Despite such efforts, the challenge of narrowing the achievement gap in classrooms and schools remains a recalcitrant phenomenon in M-DCPS and throughout the state and nation. Presently, the achievement gap between Black and Hispanic students in M-DCPS continues to remain in double-digits. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused even greater concern for the adverse impact that distance learning and other innovative, nontraditional learning approaches will have on students. If there have been concern and consternation around the achievement gap prior to the pandemic, such concerns and consternation have justifiably increased.
School Board Agenda Item H-21, will direct the Superintendent to conduct a review and examination of the achievement gaps in M-DCPS; utilize data from this review as a foundation for the establishment of goals and/or objectives in the development of the 2021-2026 District Strategic Plan; present to the School Board a detailed analysis of student performance, based on the achievement gap for ELA, Mathematics, and Science at the April 14, 2021 Academics, Innovation, Evaluation, & Technology Committee Meeting; share and review findings with the Diversity Equity and Excellence in Advisory Committee (DEEAC) at a regular scheduled meeting by April 30, 2021; initiate rulemaking to establish an “Achievement Gap Oversight Committee” comprised of relevant stakeholders; initiate rulemaking to provide an annual analysis and update to the School Board on data regarding the achievement gap for ELA, Mathematics, Science, graduation rates, and dropout rates; and continue to propose and make recommendations to the School Board regarding programs, practices, and policies to address and close the achievement gap in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, as appropriate.
“Closing the achievement gap in Miami-Dade County Public Schools represents the fulcrum of our educational work and a guiding tenet of our ethos toward equity,” Dr. Gallon stated. “I am deeply honored to have the unanimous support of my colleagues. The continued lag in achievement among Black and Hispanic students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools demanded that the Board provided leadership and took appropriate and decisive action to ensure that approaches and efforts to improve the learning and achievement of all students, and their access to high-quality programs are enhanced, implemented, and monitored—with accountability and fidelity,” said Gallon. “The unanimous approval of this item evidences the Board’s unwavering commitment and dedication to this critically important work.”
To read full item, go to: http://schoolboard.dadeschools.net/documents/agenda/h21rev.pdf