Madison Metropolitan School District and UW-Madison work together to facilitate enrichment programs for high school students in order to bridge achievements gaps among student demographics.Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger
Madison schools, UW strive to close disparities among student demographics
Stuck in traffic in New York City, Gloria Ladson-Billings watched as the national debt rose on a nearby electronic billboard. As she watched the numbers grow, so did a smaller number underneath — designating each American’s share of the debt.
Looking at them, she felt a sense of responsibility for it. A sense of responsibility she wished everyone felt for the deficits and gaps in educational opportunity among historically marginalized students.
“We all seem to feel accountable,” said Ladson-Billings, the Kellner Family Chair in Urban Education in the UW-Madison School of Education. “I want that same level of accountability to go into the achievement of all of our students, so instead of talking about an achievement gap, I want to talk about an educational debt.”
Ladson-Billings said the “achievement gap” exists because students of color have historically been given fewer educational resources — and some students are left behind with an “educational debt,” compared to advantaged peers. She said we can’t assume it is the student’s responsibility to catch up, but rather society's responsibility to invest in education for students of
Data indicates large achievement gaps between white students and students of color in the Madison Metropolitan School District. But, using UW-Madison’s resources, community programs are working to close those opportunity gaps, preparing students for success in college from a young age and supporting teachers.
“The more diverse any particular campus is, the better off we all are,” said Ron Jetty, director of Information Technology Academy, the student enrichment program. “This is a world focused university and we really need all cultures to be represented here.”
One organization, Forward Madison, works to create culturally responsive teachers who meet the needs of all Madison students. They do this by organizing intensive new teacher inductions led by Ladson-Billings, along with