Achievement Gap

The achievement gap is defined as the difference in performance on a number of educational measures between students from low-income families and their higher-income peers.

The achievement gap typically emerges as early as infancy and widens over time, making it exceedingly difficult for these children to attain the education and skills that could lift them out of poverty.

  • Children from low-income households entering kindergarten and first grade are already significantly behind their more affluent peers in terms of academic knowledge, and cognitive and social skills.
  • Third graders who both live in poverty and read below grade level are three times more likely to drop out of high school than students who have never been poor.
  • Fourth graders from low-income families are likely to be academically three years behind their peers from affluent families.
  • Sixth graders in high-poverty schools who fail math or English or exhibit unsatisfactory behavior grade have a 75% chance of dropping out of high school.
  • Students in low-performing schools are five times more likely to drop out of high school than their peers from high-performing schools.
  • High school seniors from low-income families are, on average, four years behind their higher-income peers.
  • Only one out of two students from low-income families graduate high school.
  • Nationally, only 33% of high school students from low-income households go to college and only 8% will complete a degree within six years of matriculation.

Nowhere in the country is this challenge more pressing than here in Connecticut, where our achievement gap is the widest out of all fifty states. While more than 60% of Connecticut’s white and affluent students in the tenth grade have the knowledge expected at their grade level, the same is true of less than 19% of students from low-income families,19% of Latino students, and 14% of African-American students.

This educational crisis presents a dire risk, both for the well-being of our young people and for our country’s fiscal and social health. Conquering the chronic achievement gap is considered both a moral imperative and pressing civil rights issue by many of our country’s leaders, educators, and social entrepreneurs.

The Tauck Family Foundation is focused on supporting organizations and initiatives that equip the children of Bridgeport, Connecticut's largest city, with the necessary social and emotional skills to thrive academically and in life.

For sources, please see our References page.


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Rationale for our Mission

Theory of Change and Approach