THE EDUCATION GAP IN BOSTON
Boston is notorious for its education. People from all over the world move to Boston in pursuit of higher education and increased opportunities. The phrase “I go to school in Boston” carries with it certain implications and is often used as a way to subtly brag to others. There is no shortage of colleges or universities in the Boston area. In a city where it seems as though everyone is a college student, it’s easy to forget that the education gap in Boston is still very real.
Minutes from Harvard, there are those who lack even basic literacy skills. In Massachusetts, as much as 10% of the population is considered to be illiterate. These low literacy rates can have detrimental effects on not only individuals, but also community development as a whole.
It’s shocking to think that in this day and age, there are those that lack the basic ability to read or write. It’s even more shocking how overlooked this issue truly is in the “most educated city.” However, with more than 1.1 million workers in the Commonwealth lacking basic literacy skills, this issue is all too real.
While the education in Boston is considered to be top tier, there is a huge education gap, proving that even in a city where the educational resources seem unlimited, those resources are only accessible to some. Without access to these resources, it makes it incredibly difficult for children to reach the same standards as their peers, even if they are equally as intelligent.
There is a deep achievement gap in Boston Public Schools. Proficiency rates vary greatly amongst students, indicating that the standards of education are not the same for all students.
“Black and Hispanic students have not been making enough progress,” said Chad Aldeman, senior associate partner at Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit that recently studied achievement in Boston Public Schools. “It’s a troubling sign,” he said.
In a recent article published by the Boston Herald, they found that only 24% of black and 26% of Hispanic students in grades 3 through 8 scored above grade-level proficiency in MCAS reading last year, compared to 63% of white and 62% of Asian students.
While progress has been made to combat the education gap in Boston, the city still has a long way to go. These opportunity and achievements gaps have severe implications, and without working actively to fix them, many students across Boston will suffer the consequences.
“The gap can be disastrous for people’s personal lives,”said a Boston Public Schools spokes person.“It doesn’t allow people to develop the skills and knowledge to be employable. That’s where the consequences hit the deepest.”