District 204 Aims to Close Achievement Gap

The release of the latest PARCC test scores have once again shown an achievement gap between white and African American students at District 204.

This prompted a significant turnout at the meeting, including speakers from parent organizations from the three district high schools.

“Once again I’m saddened and upset about the test scores, personally I’m very saddened about the African American underachievement,” said Bertha Jackson, President of Waubonsie Valley PAGES, or Parents Advocating for Greater Enrichment of Students.

Only 31% of African American students were proficient in English Language Arts on the test, compared to 58% of white students.

The disparity was even greater in math, where just 25% of African Americans scored proficiently, compared to 59% of white students.

“Don’t just look at these numbers and talk about what a shame it is,” said Marland Brazier, President of Metea Valley PACES. “Let’s put our heads together, put the pen on the paper and start making some decisive action towards positive change.”

And the board did just that, beginning a nearly two hour long discussion about what is causing the gap, current efforts to reach out to underperforming students, and future action to close the gap.

“We know that we have been able to reach these students already,” said Dr. Louis Lee, Assistant Superintendent of District 204. “What I mean by that is that these conversations are taking place but more of these students need the tap on the shoulder. ‘Why didn’t you take AP English this year? I know you can do that.’”

Overall, District 204 performed much higher than the state average across the board.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.

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