Distracted Achievement Gap

By Rachel Blum Spencer for FRONT PORCH REPUBLIC

A New York Times article reports the testimony of education experts before the Senate education committee, which is in the process of rewriting the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (formerly known as “No Child Left Behind.”

As we’ve heard many times before, American education seems to be lagging behind most OECD countries, both in achievement tests and completion rates. What is interesting is the the cause pinpointed by these experts. The problem, they said, begins before students even set a foot in public school.

The problem is that public schools inherit children who are “overentertained and distracted.”

In the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville observed this attitude among Americans, calling it the habit of inattentiveness. If this really is the root of what ails the American education system, what can parents and educators do to keep students from being (as Eliot put it) “distracted from distraction by distraction?”

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