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Community Dinner Dialogue: The Underachievement Gap

Community Dinner Dialogue: The Underachievement Gap
June 1, 2018

This facilitated conversation over a special meal will involve about 30 local leaders, including youth from Santa Monica, discussing this issue together.

Understanding that the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is working on this issue already, the conversation is an opportunity to bring different community and government leaders in conversation with local youth, who often don’t have the opportunity to share how the issue impacts them personally.

The underachievement gap is not unique to Santa Monica. Educational scholar Pedro Noguera summarizes the national problem as “disparities in academic outcomes that correspond to the race and class backgrounds of students.”  Noguera says they are “actually a multi-dimensional phenomenon related to unequal access to early childhood education (the preparation gap), inequities in school funding (the allocation gap), differences in the amount of support well-educated, affluent parents can provide to their children versus poorer, less-educated parents (the parent gap).” [Published in In Motion Magazine April 3, 2012.]

We will discuss together what the issue looks like specifically in Santa Monica and discuss what next steps we can take together, connecting the different contexts in which we work.

At 18th Street Arts Center we have been expanding our community programs growing in large part from our cultural asset map, called Culture Mapping 90404. It is archive of oral histories focusing on the Pico neighborhood of Santa Monica where 18th Street Arts Center is located.

Building from that work in the community, we convened an advisory council of 15 local leaders representing different organizations, schools, and community groups in Santa Monica. This group identified the underachievement gap as one of the most important issues facing youth in Santa Monica today.

Please contact Betty Marín with any other questions or to RSVP by emailing bmarin@18thstreet.org. You can reach her by phone at 310-453-3711 x 105.


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