Bridging the achievement gap
Re “What works,” Opinion, Sept. 22
David L. Kirp is correct to voice concern over the alarmingly high dropout rate among African American male high school students. He is also right when he points out that youngsters who attend highquality preschools are more likely to succeed in school than those who don’t.
The problem in Los Angeles and throughout California is that access to high-quality preschools is often limited due to availability or income guidelines. Despite the proven benefits of a preschool education, there is a reluctance by some to invest resources in efforts to expand early education opportunities.
That is a mistake that carries a heavy price, as early education is a key to securing a skilled and educated workforce that can compete in the global economy.
Preschool is an investment in our children’s and society’s future.
Celia C. Ayala
Los Angeles The writer is the chief executive of Los Angeles Universal Preschool, which serves about 10,000 children in 325 preschools.
I read the Op-Ed on America’s achievement gap for black male students and all of the writer’s “solutions.” I was looking for one word in the article that didn’t appear. That word is “parents.”
Hugh A. Rose
Good preschools, smaller elementary school classes, a focus on reading, altering attitudes about intelligence, linking schools to their communities and paying attention to character-building are certainly key components to making a difference for black male students.
May I also suggest an essential component: food.
What can a teacher say when a child, not focusing on the day’s lessons, says: “I’m sorry. I really can’t concentrate. I’m hungry. We don’t have enough food to go around and today I couldn’t have breakfast.”
The opinion piece is yet another incomplete story. Kirp offers many reasons for the disparity gap in achievement by African Americans: poor teachers, poor resources, lack of good preschools, etc.
Not a single mention of lack of parental interest and involvement. Not any mention of these underachieving students coming from single-parent homes of many siblings, most with no father. And many of these students are being raised by grandparents who no longer have the energy they once had.
There are many, many reasons for underachievement. Let’s be honest and tackle one of the most important reasons: When are we going to get back to the basics of being a responsible parent?
You don’t have to be rich to take an active part in your child’s education.