Kambwa, who served as emcee for the Closing the Gap conference, gave the younger students five guidelines for bridging the achievement gap:
- Ask younger students how they’re doing in school.
- Recommend a good book to a peer or younger student.
- Help younger students with their homework. Quiz them on their knowledge of academic subjects. Let them know you are there for questions.
- Raise your hand in class, or sit in front while you’re in class. Set a positive example for your peers.
- Adopt a new attitude. Don’t be afraid to say what you’re about: “I think it’s cool to get good grades. I plan to go to college.”
In Wisconsin, the gap is greatest between white and Hispanic students when comparing high school graduation rates. White students graduate at a rate of 90 percent, compared to only 63 percent for Hispanic students. For Asian students it’s 89 percent, Native Americans 73 percent and black students 72 percent.
Charles Peterson, 17, another Free Press editor, called the achievement gap “huge” and said it is only getting wider.
As a young black male, Peterson has done well at La Follette despite expectations to the contrary.
“I get a lot of negative attention from all colors for doing well in school and for not fitting stereotypes,” he said.