Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
MAJOR TALENT DRAIN IN OUR NATION'S SCHOOLS, SQUANDERING THE POTENTIAL OF MILLIONS OF HIGH-ACHIEVING, LOWER-INCOME STUDENTS, NEW REPORT UNCOVERS
Current education policy focused on "proficiency" misses opportunity to raise achievement levels among the brightest, lower-income students
Alternative NCLB legislation being debated in the Education Committee hearing today includes provisions that could, for the first time, hold schools accountable for the academic growth of students performing at advanced levels. The report cited in the testimony -Achievement Trap: How America is Failing 3.4 Million High-Achieving Students from Lower-Income Families - is a first-of-its-kind look at a population below the median income level that starts school performing at high levels, but loses ground at virtually every level of schooling and suffers a steep plummet in college.
"No Child Left Behind's successes in demanding greater accountability for reversing poor achievement among low-income students are laudable and should be continued," testified Joshua S. Wyner, Executive Vice President of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which wrote the report with Civic Enterprises. "But we are missing an important opportunity to promote high achievement for all students, no matter what their income and background. The needs of high potential and high-achieving students should not be pitted against the educational needs of underachievers."
Overlooked under the No Child Left Behind law, these 3.4
million extraordinary students are larger than the populations of 21
individual states and largely representative of the race, ethnicity, gender
and geography of
Tanner Mathison, a student featured in the report who is
now a freshman at
College and graduate school findings:
The significance of a college education is underscored by our nation's growing knowledge economy, which demands more than a high school degree. More than nine out of ten high-achieving high school students attend college, regardless of income level-a great success at a time when only 80 percent of all twelfth graders enter postsecondary education.
Although high-achieving lower-income students are attending college at impressive rates, they are less likely to graduate from college than their higher-income peers (59 percent versus 77 percent). In addition, lower-income, high-achievers are:
"These extraordinary students are found in every
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The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private, independent foundation established in 2000 by the estate of Jack Kent Cooke to help young people of exceptional promise reach their full potential through education. It focuses in particular on students with financial need. The Foundation's programs include scholarships to undergraduate, graduate, and high school students, and grants to organizations that serve high-achieving students with financial need.
Civic Enterprises is a Washington, D.C.-based public policy development firm dedicated to informing discussions on issues of importance to the nation.