O'Connell pointed out the lack of progress made in closing the achievement gap among racial groups. While all student subgroup populations have continued to improve since 2003, the gap in achievement between African Americans or blacks and whites and the gap in achievement between Hispanics or Latinos and whites remain relatively unchanged.
"Once again, these annual test scores shine a glaring light on the disparity in achievement between students who are African American or Hispanic and their white or Asian counterparts. We know all children can learn to the same high levels, so we must confront and change those things that are holding back groups of students."
This achievement gap cannot always be explained away because of the poverty that has been so often associated with low performance, he said.
"The results show this explanation not to be universally true," he said. "In fact, African American and Hispanic students who are not poor are achieving at lower levels in math than their white counterparts who are poor. These are not just economic achievement gaps, they are racial achievement gaps. We cannot afford to excuse them; they simply must be addressed. We must take notice and take action."
One of those actions is holding an Achievement Gap Summit on November 13-14, to bring these issues to the table with educators and community leaders. See you there!