The Big Picture: Why You’re Doing What You’re Doing

Not everyone has studied education policy in-depth, so here’s a quick primer on the landscape we’re working in:

  • The Achievement Gap: “…the observed disparity on a number of educational measures between the performance of groups of students, especially groups defined by gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.” (via Wikipedia)
  • Your Students: in general, determined and ambitious, but without the structures in place to ensure academic success beyond middle school, including parents with college experience or adequate counseling
  • The Core Goal of Breakthrough Student Success: to close the Achievement Gap by ensuring our students’ ability to enter into and succeed in college-preparatory high school programs

Some articles about the battleground:

Summer break increases achievement gap (Examiner.com)

“The achievement gap accumulates over the years and results in unequal placements in college preparatory tracks, starting in ninth grade. The gap also increases the chances that children from low socioeconomic families will drop out of high school and decreases their chances of attending a four-year college.”


It Takes More Than Schools To Close the Achievement Gap (NYTimes.com)

“…a growing body of research suggests that while schools can make a difference for individual students, the fabric of children’s lives outside of school can either nurture, or choke, what progress poor children do make academically.”

“But poor children started out behind their peers, and the problems compounded when school ended for the summer. Then, middle-class children would read books, attend camp and return to school in September more advanced than when they left. But poorer children tended to stagnate. “The long summer break is especially hard for disadvantaged children,” Professor Alexander said. “Some school is good, and more is better.”

This is the work we’ve asked you to do. Get to it.

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