There is a massive gap in student success that we know exists, but we never talk about it. The reason is simple. It's not slapping us in the face because so many other gaps exist. Whether it's the poverty gap or the achievement gap, there are so many gaps out there that we don't even think of this gap, and the sad reality is this. We have 100% control over this gap.
The Aspiration Gap
Research says that by the time kids are in middle school, 93% of them believe they will go to college. But by the time those same students graduate from high school, only 44% actually enroll.
THAT IS SCARY.
Why do kids lose this belief between middle school and graduation? Better yet, what role do we educators play in this statistic. Honestly, I can't tell you all of the factors that play a role in the aspiration gap, but I can tell you one big factor that could reverse it.
WHAT WE SAY and WHAT WE DO.
What we tell kids every day convinces them that they have or don't have what it takes to go to college. How we communicate performance through our grading practices tells them they're a failure or a future college grad. How we instill the value of hard work, grit, determination and perseverance shows them how to be a perpetual quitter or it shows them the pathway they must take daily to go to college or a career pathway of their choosing.
Finally, what we believe about our own individual impact on students is probably the single biggest factor that could kill this trend. Think about it. If every educator believed that his primary role was to be every kid's college prep motivator, what would happen? We would no longer see kids as students. We would see them as scholars, future college graduates, and game changers.
WE are the Key to Closing the Aspiration Gap!
Let's make it happen for all kids today. They deserve it.