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Can New Media Help Close the Achievement Gap in Urban Schools?

September 3, 2010

In most American cities, poor and minority students lag behind their higher-income and white counterparts. Some in the education community have consistently cited the poor conditions in many inner-city schools – inexperienced teachers, overcrowded classrooms, inadequate resources – as a significant contributor to the “achievement gap”. While many education reformers have focused on a more tradition approach of improving the quality of urban schools, a few are looking at how new technology can improve educational outcomes for urban minority youth.

In New York City, School District Chancellor Joel Klein has established an Innovation Zone that will among other things pilot the delivery of Advanced Placement (AP) classes online. These courses, which provide college level preparation (and credits) for high school students, aren’t offered in many urban high schools, typically because a school does not have enough students to warrant the cost of hiring a new teacher. The virtual AP courses offered through the iZone are designed to fill this void, and it’s hoped that the program help increase both access and achievement in AP classes across the city. more…

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