Closing Opportunity Gaps
Virginia’s Equity Framework, or the Road Map to Equity, prioritizes our strategy into two categories that are informed by Virginia achievement data, best practice, and research: (1) Closing Opportunity Gaps for Virginia Students, and (2) Increasing the Cultural Proficiency of Virginia’s Educator Workforce. The Roadmap is guided by the EdEquityVA Compass, which articulates the essential competencies necessary to advance these equity priorities.
Opportunity Gap describes the complex issues that contribute to achievement gaps and recognizes the historical and societal implications of the way race and class influence the kind of education and access to support a student is likely to receive. (Adapted from Mike Yates’ ‘Let’s Stop Calling It an “Achievement Gap” When It’s Really an Opportunity Gap‘).
Opportunity Gaps often manifest as:
- lack of equitable and consistent access to rigorous courses and learning opportunities;
- lack of access to high levels of support that measurably increase achievement levels for all students; and
- lowered expectations for underrepresented/marginalized students.
Opportunity Gaps Cause Academic Achievement Gaps
Many conversations related to disproportionally in student outcomes have focused on achievement gap, disparities in test scores, graduation rates, and other success metrics. This focus has neglected the basic truth that achievement follows from opportunities to learn. Gloria Ladson-Billings, esteemed pedagogical expert, argues instead that the achievement gap is the outcome of the historical, economic, sociopolitical, and moral decisions and policies that created the current education system
The Virginia Department of Education is shifting away from a focus on “achievement gaps” to addressing the conditions of the educational system that perpetuate inequities. Closing opportunity gaps in Virginia schools is the only way we will make progress toward eliminating the academic achievement gaps that exists.
Our strategy will focus on the following tactics as the primary vehicles for closing opportunity gaps for Virginia Students:
- -Ensuring academic rigor and high expectations for ALL students.
- -Mitigating enrollment barriers for under-represented students into accelerated, advanced, and selective, academic programs.
- -Resourcing targeted supports for students.
- -Incentivizing equitable assignment of experienced teachers.
- -Tailoring technical assistance to support differentiated and scaled instruction.
- -Evaluating state levers to advance equitable resource distribution.
- -Ensuring equitable school facilities and technology resources for ALL students.
- -Developing and implementing social-emotional learning standards for Virginia.
- -Developing and implementing accountability for equitable educational opportunities.
- -Monitoring & reporting on disproportionate access and outcome data (Equity Dashboard).
- –Fighting The Opportunity Gap: What Schools Can Do To Close It
- –Closing the Opportunity Gap Key Policy Recommendations (Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education)
- –Opportunity Gap – Talking Points for Advocacy (Schott Foundation for Public Education)
- –Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card” (Education law Center)
- –The Same Starting Line: How School Boards Can Erase the Opportunity Gap Between Poor and Middle-Class Children (Appleseed)
- –Closing Opportunity Gaps in Education is The Only Way to Close Achievement Gaps (National Opportunity to Learn Campaign)
- –EdEquityVA Strategy Notes for Academic Rigor (VDOE)
- –Academic Rigor: You’re Doing it Wrong and Here’s Why (Edvocate)
- –Rigorous Learning for All Students Advocacy Guide (EdTrust)
- –READY for RIGOR A Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching (Zaretta Hammond)
- –Differentiated Instruction: Resource Roundup (Edutopia)
Access to Advanced Coursework
Advanced Academic Programs in Virginia include; Gifted, IB, AP, Dual Enrollment, Academic Governor’s Schools, and other advanced specialty programs
- –EdEquityVA Data on Advanced Academic Programs (VDOE)
- –EdEquityVA 5 Keys to Ensuring Equity in Advanced Programs (VDOE)
- –5 Things State Leaders Should Do to Advance Equity: Access to and Success in Advanced Coursework (EdTrust)
College and Career Readiness
- –EdEquityVA Data on College and Career Readiness (VDOE)
- –Expanding Access to a College- and Career-Ready Curriculum (Learning Policy Institute)
- –Making Good on the Promise: Building Trust to Promote Equity in CTE (Advance CTE)
- –Graduation and College and Career Readiness (EdTrust)
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