High-achieving students get less attention
The report also has some fascinating data about what teachers think about their high-achieving students. For instance, teachers say that their schools do not make high-achieving students a top priority. And that apparently happens much more frequently at urban schools where there are high numbers of students in poverty. So that means that if you a high-achieving, minority student in an urban school, you are much less likely to have a chance to be challenged than if you go to a suburban school. That may not be particularly surprising, but it documents what has been believed for years.
In addition, teachers told the researchers that they feel guilty about the fact that their most gifted students don't get challenged enough. "I feel like sometimes we are cheating them ... cheating them out of their own personal glory.... They could be so much more magnificent in their own right and happier, because I think they feel a level of frustration that they have to sit by while we are babysitting," said one teacher who was quoted in the report by researchers Steve Farkas and Ann Duffett.
Interesting, too, is that while most teachers say the low achievers are getting more attention than others, they also don't think that is right. About half of teachers reported they thought every student should get equal attention.
In the same study, about half of high school teachers surveyed said they believe the advanced-level classes at their school are truly rigorous and challenging. Another 40 percent said they are watered down.
Teachers also said that too often parents push their children into the advanced classes they are unprepared for or don't want to be in.