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Task force to investigate school achievement gap

Teacher Jaclyn Kruljac speaks to her students in 5th grade class at Walsh Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois, March 1, 2013. REUTERS/Jim
Teacher Jaclyn Kruljac speaks to her students in 5th grade class at Walsh Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois, March 1, 2013. REUTERS/Jim

MADISON, Wis (WRN)   A task force hopes to close the state’s achievement gap. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers noted that the gap between white and black students has been persistent for decades.

“Certainly a lot of it is economically based, and how our economy has changed dramatically over the decades. But the fact of the matter is we can’t wait for that to rectified anytime soon,” Evers said. “I’ll be honest, at the state level when we always talk about this, the discussion always degenerates to some extent into “well what system is better, choice, charter, public schools. We’re going to solve it by governance issues.” Well that’s just baloney. If we believed that at one time, it’s been dispelled.”

Evers has tapped Demond Means, superintendent in the Mequon Thiensville district, to lead a group of 17 educators charged with providing insight into how successful practices are working to close the gap. “These school districts and schools that are members of our task force represent places where it is happening, and positive things are occurring when it comes to closing the gap. It ultimately comes down to are you engaged and invested in doing “love work,” and wrapping your arms around parents, their children and your colleagues,” Means said. The task force met for the first time on Wednesday in Madison.

“We have kind of internal benchmarks about closing this gap that I think are appropriate. We just need to start the process,” said Evers. “We have had some success frankly, but not enough.”

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