As an institution, school districts tend to think talking about “diversity” is the same thing as talking about “race.”
When I call up superintendents to ask about their achievement gaps, the superintendents almost invariably shift the conversation from a white-black or white-Latino thing to a conversation about socioeconomics.
“Poverty has so much more to do with it than race,” they tell me.
There’s plenty of research that says the struggles of poverty — from hunger’s impact on brain development to the stress of not knowing where you’re going to sleep at night — impact student achievement.
But, even controlling for income, achievement gaps between black and white students and Hispanic and white students persist, evidenced by a recent analysis of standardized test results in Ohio. In that study, poor white kids outperformed black kids from both poor and wealthy families.