The gap in college completion between high- and low-income students reduces by half when both groups of students take calculus by 12th grade.
Now for a bit of policy.
We've discussed teacher performance pay and union issues before on TeachBreakthroughs, and the discussion has recently returned to the campaign trail in earnest. Last weekend, Barack Obama accepted the endorsement from the National Education Association, a 3.2 million member teacher's union. He made performance pay a subject of his speech, just as he did at the NEA meeting last year, drawing boos. In the primaries, the NEA decided not to endorse a candidate, while the American Federation of Teachers (a more Labor-Movement-Connected union) was among the most active surrogate groups for Hillary Clinton. While Obama's work toward performance pay won't drive the unions to another candidate, there are some questions there.
Richard D. Kahlenberg wrote for The American Prospect a useful rundown of the education reform debate happening right now on the left. It's a great read, but here's the gist of the piece:
While progressives generally agree that education in America is a mess and that performance needs to increase, there are two schools of thought that have seen little chance for compromise:
Kahlenberg makes an argument for how to thread the needle and get these two groups at the table for some meaningful reform.
It's hard to say where Breakthrough would sit in this debate, but the goals we have for societal reforms run through the classroom and educational attainment. I personally think it would be great if we could make schools better, without "going to war" with the teachers and the unions.