April 11

The April 9 Metro article “Report: Student gaps are growing” explained a finding that Montgomery County’s efforts to narrow the achievement gap between high-poverty and low-poverty schools are fizzling. Given the political makeup of the county, its huge school budgets and the high caliber of its teachers and administrators, this failure cannot reasonably be attributed to a lack of determination, expertise or resources. Indeed, it cannot be attributed realistically to the school system at all.

It’s time to acknowledge the obvious: The fundamental problem stems, in large part, from family, cultural and other societal issues that school systems have little, if any, ability to resolve. We will never do away with the achievement gap until we focus on these root causes. Demanding that school systems eliminate the achievement gap is only a politically correct fig leaf that does a disservice to our children by enabling politicians and others to avoid coming to grips with the real, albeit difficult, underlying challenges.

Henry Wray, Gaithersburg