A recent article, “Teach Black and Hispanic Students Differently,” on the USA Today website reports that members of a review panel for the Broad Prize for Urban Education noted that several large urban schools are closing the achievement gap between black and Hispanic students, but the narrowing has been slow. The Broad Prize panel have determined that Hispanic and black students should be taught differently.
This is in opposition to what the federal government has determined; the panel looks at different indicators. The panel looked at “college readiness,” for example. From 2002 to 2011, the percentage of black student who met all the readiness benchmarks on the ACT test rose from 3% to 4% while it rose from 8% to 11% for Hispanic students. In 2010, only 8.6% of AP test takers were black even though they accounted for 14.6% of high school graduates that year. Conversely, 16% of the AP test takers were Hispanics; they made up 17% of the graduates that year.
Why the marked differences between the two largest minorities? Advocate for poor students from The Education Trust, Amy Wilkins suggest, “African-American students are more socially and economically isolated than Latino students.” She continues that they are less likely than their Latino counterparts to get strong teacher or to attend better-funded majority white schools.
That is not to say that things have been resolved for Hispanic students and not for black students. Hispanics have a very high dropout rate, and there are successful programs at both black and Hispanic schools. The answer seems to lie in the school cultures. In successful all-black schools, the culture revolves around social justice and a “highly structured curricula that emphasize verbal instruction.” Highly successful Hispanic schools tend to have a school culture built on “connections to family with teachers employing an unstructured curriculum emphasizing visual instruction.”
Learn more about the prestigious academic prize that rewards outstanding achievement in urban schools across the country: