Over at Chalkboard, Joe Williams has a great post challenging the idea that we need to close the achievement gap in order to compete in the global economy. He’s responding to an otherwise good New York Times editorial that calls for enforcing the teacher quality provisions of No Child Left Behind.
Why do I think this is the wrong reason for closing the gap? Iâ€™m not entirely convinced the â€œcreate a supply of good workersâ€ line is as emotionally/intellectually compelling as â€œmaintain an equal, just, democratic societyâ€ in terms of the primary reason we should care about the future of impoverished black and brown children.
If producing more high-tech workers is the number one goal, we’d do better working on improving mediocre suburban schools rather than tacking inner-city schools, Williams argues. The reason to close the achievement gap is that providing educational opportunity to all Americans is the right thing to do.
Update: D-Ed Reckoning criticizes the whole editorial, including the claim that we need to close the achievement gap or lose out in the global economy.
One advantage of having one of the most economically free systems in the world (thanks to not following the unfailingly wrong advice of the editors of the NYT) is that there is no shortage of well-educated foreigners clamoring to come to the good ol’ U.S. of A to work. We have the ability to brain drain the rest of the world and we’ve been doing so for a long time now.
In the global market for talent, the U.S. competes very well. But it would be nice to develop more of our homegrown talent.