Rybak recently became head of Generation Next, a partnership of education, community, government and business leaders aimed at closing the achievement gap between white and minority students.Were, ceteris paribus, the test scores of white students to descend, the gap would be diminished. That would be a Bad Thing. 'The gap' is not the problem.
On my desk sits the October 10 Star Tribune with Mpls. schools fires group hired to fix the academic gap below the fold. (Sometime after my paper was printed, the Strib decided to re-title the article Minneapolis schools cut ties with achievement gap group.)
Quite clearly the achievement gap attracts worthless rent-seekers alongside the upright do-gooders.
I hope R.T. Rybak has success in improving the academic achievement of underperforming minorities, though from the vantage point of cold-blooded prognostication I am somewhat pessimistic. Public discourse about the problem suggests it is caused by present-day white people.
To raise the academic performance of any group of low-scoring students would require enthusiastic ownership, buy-in and responsibility-assuming by the minority community itself. To a significant extent minority leaders and guilt-stricken white liberals insinuate the achievement gap is something current-day racist whites inflict upon good-willed striving minorities--an implicit statement, intelligible to all, that improving the academic achievement of underperforming minorities does not require minority ownership of the problem.
Frank discussion of the achievement gap is virtually impossible, given present-day ideological strictures pertaining to issues of color. The most obvious question--What is causing the 'widening achievement gap between white students and students of color and lower-income households'?--is deemed so insensitive as to be beyond the pale, not mentioned in Generation Next's faq.
It seems unlikely to me that a problem so ill-defined, ideology-swamped and un-owned can be successfully reversed satisfactorily soon.