5 Things Every Christian Can Do—Right Now—to Help Close the Achievement Gap

Race_Equity_Equality

("Race Equity Equality" by Clayton Singleton; ClaytonSingleton.com)

① Volunteer as a tutor, mentor, or reading partner.
School-based and off-site tutoring and mentoring programs are always in need of volunteers. Their lessons are typically scripted, and they provide training for people who may need to brush up on those old elementary school skills. National service organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the United Way will facilitate the volunteer placement process for you as they specialize in connecting volunteers with direct reading, tutoring, and mentoring opportunities.

② Support public school partnerships through your church.
Many congregations are already supporting schools and families through book drives or school clean-up days and by sponsoring field trips or offering after-school and summer programs for neighborhood students. Find out what your church is doing and volunteer. Many of these ministries need administrative and logistical support, so even people with unpredictable work schedules can still help.  For more ideas, check out the terrific resources in the "More than Paper and Pencils" on this page, and read about the many exciting things happening in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area in "Church/School Partnerships = Win/Win."

③ Advocate for early childhood education and other important reforms in your state.
This can be done through the traditional routes of civic engagement by contacting your congressperson or state legislature. You can also educate yourself and others on pressing educational issues by researching the following organizations: National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC.org), The Children's Defense Fund, Stand for Children, and the Education Trust.

④ Make financial contributions to effective organizations.
Most educational equity organizations are nonprofits that rely on the gracious financial stewardship of individuals. In addition to offering our time and talents, financial contributions are yet another way that we all can support organizations that are working tirelessly to make educational equity a reality for all children. Most organizations also accept online donations through their websites. (See "More than Paper and Pencils.")

⑤ Become an "Ambassador" for The Expectations Project in your region.
TEP Ambassadors are a huge asset to us as they help form grassroots coalitions of churches in regions where TEP does not have a permanent office.  TEP staff will provide training and support materials for those interested in educating others about the achievement gap, forming small groups around the book Educating All God's Children, committing committing to praying for our children and schools, as well as a host of other opportunities. Learn more.


Related reading:

Church/School Partnerships = Win/Win

School Equality as a Matter of Faith

More than Paper and Pencils

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3 Responses

  1. Jim says:

    I guess I am curious why or what is the reason to close the achievement gap. There are two things that come to mind. Some people have a high IQ, and others do not. Also, some are lazy and some are industrious.

    Maybe I need a little help on what you mean by achievement gap, and why close it?

    • Kristyn Komarnicki says:

      The "achievement gap" here refers to the impact that poverty has on educational outcomes. This quote from another article on our site, "School Equality as a Matter of Faith," should help explain this educational inequality: "By the time they reach fourth grade, students from low-income communities are already three grade levels behind their wealthier peers. That means that there are 10-year-olds reading on a first-grade level. And while their wealthier peers are working with complex fractions, these same kids are still learning to count and struggling with basic addition. This disparity only worsens over time. Half of students living in poverty will not graduate from high school, and the ones that do make it are graduating with eighth-grade skills. Out of that 50 percent who do graduate from high school, only one in 10 will go on to graduate from a four-year college or university."

      Does that answer your question?

  2. The Bluesterman says:

    Low income is, I'm guessing, one of the more easily measured metrics that can be used to make educational outcome comparisons. One that is much more difficult to measure, but which I've seen be almost universally true (actual learning disabilities excluded from consideration) is familial or general living environment 'noise.' I will give two examples of what I mean by noise. A father or mother who is an ex-convict and because of this the family finds it almost impossible to find a place to rent. A child who has been victimized by sexual or repeated verbal abuse. Noise is probably more common among lower income persons/families, but certainly not limited to them.
    All the more reason why Christians really do need to be out in their community being salt and light in whatever corner of that community to which the Holy Spirit leads. The Peace of the Lord is a great countermeasure against noise. Children from noisy environments really are drawn to and strengthened by that Peace.

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