Showing Up and Doing Well in School Should Lead to Better Opportunity But It’s Not Always True

By Kate Hardiman ~ Education Post ~

Low-income and minority students are not being challenged nearly as much as their White peers in high school, according to a new study produced by TNTP, a national education nonprofit. They’ve dubbed this the “opportunity myth”—the false idea that showing up and doing well in school will lead to better opportunity.

Think about that for a minute. If you’re a parent, you probably tell your kids that if they work hard, do their homework and get good grades, they’ll go to college, right? If you’re a fellow educator, you’ve probably said something similar to your students. In America, we accept that there are, and should be, opportunities for those who go to school and work hard.

Yet, for many students, this is just not true.

After following nearly 4,000 students in five diverse school systems, TNTP’s researchers concluded that this “opportunity myth” does exist, and is the result of several things happening in schools.

First, most students went through their day without grade-appropriate assignments. Students wasted more than 500 hours per school year on assignments that were simply too easy for them. Totaled up, this amounts to six months of wasted class time in each core subject!

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