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Opening Exercises - Or Never-Never Land

Abstract

The author of this "Point of View" paper reflects on her experiences as a teacher in a district full of poor children, faced with policies aimed at overcoming the "achievement gap." Frustrated by the implication by educational leadership that the gap exists because teachers "don't believe all children can learn," she argues that policy which is driven by finger-pointing and "magical thinking" (what she calls "research by aphorism") is no basis for real, positive change in schools. What she feels is lacking is a realistic engagement with the needs of poor students, and much of the research on the achievement gap lacks this realism, and serves political agendas rather than teaching.

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