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Closing the Gap

We’ve blogged several times about Roland Fryer‘s research on education and the black-white achievement gap. Now Fryer thinks he has identified one system that successfully closes the gap. His new working paper, with co-author Will Dobbie, analyzes both the high-quality charter schools and the comprehensive community programs of the Harlem Children’s Zone (which was chronicled in Paul Tough‘s excellent book Whatever It Takes), with hopeful results: “Harlem Children’s Zone is enormously effective at increasing the achievement of the poorest minority children. Taken at face value, the effects in middle school are enough to reverse the black-white achievement gap in mathematics and reduce it in English Language Arts. The effects in elementary school close the racial achievement gap in both subjects.” Fryer and Dobbie attribute the program’s success to the high-quality schools or the combination of high-quality schools and community programs but find that community investments alone cannot close the gap. “The HCZ model demonstrates,” the authors conclude, “that the right cocktail of investments can be successful.” [%comments]