Why Have the Educational
Achievement Gaps Not Been
Eliminated in American Schools?

Four Key Factors That Have Limited the Learning Process : Directly or Indirectly

For those of us who are concerned with the direction of education reforms, which include lack of academic progress within many school populations.  This is especially true in many urban areas.  There has been little or no academic improvement in “turn-around “schools, after thirty-plus years of school reform.

Many “charter” schools indicate that they have made remarkable academic achievements with their students.  It should be noted that these schools have selected their students by lottery and/or interviews.  Our U.S. schools have always had students who have done “very well” in public community schools and would do the same in all educational environments, whether they be public, charter, secular, private, or religious schools.  At the present time, many students , particularly minorities, have been left behind.

The authors of this document have identified four major reasons why many of our children are underachievers. These are: (1) Poverty, (2) Corruption,(3) Misuse of Education Funds,(4)Lack of Research which would benefit Classroom Teachers

1. Poverty: related areas could include: dysfunctional families; limited horizons for children; and a host of other factors related to poverty. Results: low academic performance of students within the classroom.

2. Corruption: The media (radio, TV, newspapers, etc.) have focused on school districts: Washington,D.C. Public Schools (June,2014,Education Week),Chicago Public Schools (June,2014 Education Week),Hartford,CT.Public Schools (June, July, 2014)Hartford Courant,Jonathan Pelto’s Blogs, Other school districts. Results: Redirection of taxpayer monies to corporations and individuals rather than public schools.

3.Misuse of education funds obtained from local, state, and federal funding. Results: indicate redirected funds to charter and magnet schools and voucher plans.  There is NO ACCOUNTABILITY  to public input.  Seriously reduced funds for instructional materials, programs, special needs, etc.

4.Lack of research that would benefit the classroom teacher. Results: ignoring what has already been researched by educational institution to improve classroom learning.  Teachers therefore have limited range of strategies for use in the classroom.

The combination of the above-mentioned factors have an overall negative effect on teachers, students, and parents.


The retraining of teachers as well as all support staff to become more effectively trained in cognitive education as the real foundation across all subject matter, increasing both understanding and retention.

1. Feuerstein’s Instrumental Enrichment Program (FIE) was developed by the late Professor Reuven Feuerstein, an Israeli cognitive psychologist.

2. Research –based program used in 70 countries; published in 18 languages; over 1000 research studies completed, over more than 60 years, indicating that this program dramatically improves learning.

3.Specific Learning Outcomes from the FIE Program for Students, Teachers, and parents can be found in THE THINKING ACADEMY volume.

4.THE THINKING ACADEMY  provides a concrete plan to turn around failing schools and the procedural approach to do so.  These schools become “Thinking Communities” with a stong foundation of cognitive skills for all areas of school, life, and a potential bright beyond.

Refer to this website: www.thinkingtolearn.org : Thinking Academy page
Co-authors: David S. Martin, Ph.D., Irv Schein, MA