The summertime achievements we are highlighting in the July 2010 GUH Newsletter offer fun, engaging ways for kids to stay active during the otherwise lazy summer months. These programs are a reaction to the unfortunate reality of the U.S. “achievement gap.”
The National Center for Education Statistics defines the educational achievement gap as a statistically significant difference in scores between any two groups of students. Andy Porter, Dean of the Penn Graduate School of Education, emphasizes the reality that disparities in children’s “opportunit[ies] to learn” before and during schooling are a primary contributing factor to the achievement gap. Exciting research from Johns Hopkins University highlights the idea that “achievement gaps by family SES (socioeconomic status) and race/ethnicity widen more during the summer months than during the school year.” That’s where enrichment-focused, affordable summer programs, like those Rice County programs presented in this GUH video, programs from other parts of the country, and national efforts, can make a difference!
While it is wonderful that there are a variety of programs available for youth this summer, closing the achievement gap (and keeping it closed) will not happen overnight. Programs that have existed need to continue, and new programs may need to be created to keep providing sufficient innovative programming for all of the communities of Rice County.
How can we sustain the good work that is being done and still needs to be done? With whom does the responsibility lie to keep these programs going and breathe life into new efforts? What other programs are doing exciting work in the summer? What sorts of programs should exist that don’t to address the summer achievement gap issue, and who needs to take the lead on maintaining them?
Brainstorm your ideas and contribute to the dialogue below!