At the last Board of Education meeting on 2/13/2020, I asked the board how it defines the achievement gap. I also asked if there was a game plan since no “Education Committee” reports in recent memory had alluded to any definitive plans for this chronic problem.

Not a single board member had an answer, and they all deferred to our outgoing superintendent, which tells me that they, as a group (or individually), haven’t taken their thinking past the standard “narrowing the achievement gap” mantra. 

The achievement gap is not something to be swept under the carpet, deferred to the next board or merely narrowed. It is meant to be abolished. Moreover, our next superintendent does not need to be a “visionary” to confront the problem. This is not a visionary concept. 

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Eliminating the achievement gap should be in the consciousness of our community - and in the BOE game plan. Such an investment would provide our community with truly amazing returns. How can it not be a focal point of our otherwise sophisticated and dedicated board, our administrators, and our principals? It is critical when finally submitting this new budget to the public that eliminating the achievement gap becomes one of our priorities.

As a community we need a blue print - a three, five or seven year plan to actually eliminate the achievement gap. Moreover, the whole community should be involved - churches, teachers, foundations, parents, students and concerned citizens.

Eliminating the achievement gap would be transformative for our community - and we would be a state, if not national, model. 

The fact is the achievement gap of minority and poor students remains one of the most pressing and blatant problems in education. It should not remain so in Summit. It must become front and center for our Board of Education, our parents, administrators, and every teacher and principal.

George Lucaci - Summit

Note - George Lucaci is a past president of the Summit Board of Education (2012-13).