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Education Summit Vows to Tackle Racial Achievement Gap

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Aired 4/19/09

( Photo : Senator Denise Ducheny speaks with a reporter about her role in helping to close the achievement gap. Ducheny is taking part in a statewide summit in Sacramento on the issue. Ana Tintocalis/KPBS .)

Dozens of San Diego County school administrators and teachers head to Sacramento today to take part in a statewide summit about California's achievement gap. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

Standardized test scores show black and Latino students are still woefully behind white and Asians -- this despite increased efforts over the past few years to shore up the gap.

State School Superintendent Jack O'Connell wants to get to the root of the problem at the summit. But O'Connell is asking educators to go beyond just talking about access and resource issues. He wants them to talk about how race plays a role. In fact, O'Connell is now calling the gap a "racial achievement gap" because new research shows poverty is no longer the main factor.

He says built-in low expectations for certain student groups may be to blame, as well as a curriculum that doesn't take into account the diverse cultural backgrounds of students. The summit takes place over the next two days. 

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.

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