Urban Schools Need Better Teachers, Not Excuses, to Close the Education Gap

The truth is that America will never fix poverty until it fixes its urban schools.

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More than a decade ago, education historian Diane Ravitch warned that "we must take care not to build into public policy a sense of resignation that children's socioeconomic status determines their destiny. Public policy must relentlessly seek to replicate schools that demonstrate the ability to educate children from impoverished backgrounds instead of perpetuating (and rewarding) those that use the pupil's circumstances as a rationale for failure."

Today, it is past time to heed that advice. To close the nation's insidious achievement gap, we must replace the culture of excuse in our schools with a culture of accountability that works relentlessly to provide high-needs students with effective teachers.