Closing the achievement gap

Closing the achievement gap

Academic achievement levels especially for African American, Latino and Native American students in PPS and across the country have long lagged behind those of white and Asian students. According to the international consulting firm McKinsey & Company, this lag holds back our country as a whole.

“Existing gaps impose the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession—one substantially larger than the deep recession the country is currently experiencing,” notes McKinsey’s report, “The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools.”

The gap is a key contributor to poorer outcomes especially for African Americans not only in education but in employment and health, as the Urban League of Portland’s State of Black Oregon report found.

PPS is determined to address this inequity.

The school district is taking action with a range of initiatives from redesigning our high school system to make sure all students have access to high quality, rigorous courses to focusing more on identifying and meeting student's individual needs to increasing the cultural competency of our staff through intensive trainings and new policies. In June 2011, the Portland School Board adopted the district's first Racial Educational Equity Policy.

The Milestones Framework is also a tool to close the gap.

Each year, we chart the disparity between white students and the lowest scoring ethnic or racial group at each Milestone. By doing this, we can see our biggest disparities and then focus our educational approaches and academic support in these areas.

We are serious about success for all of our students. We hope you will work with us to reach this goal.