This is a very basic point, but I find that it’s consistently under-discussed: to close achievement gaps like the racial achievement gap, not only must Black and Hispanic students learn more, white and Asian students must learn less than they do. Closing any gap has to entail the poorly-performing students not just learning but learning at a sufficiently faster pace than the high-performing students that the gap closes. This is not a minor point! American students of all races have been improving over time. But gaps have persisted because… students of all races have been improving over time. As long as white and Asian students learn as much as Black and Hispanic, the gap cannot close. This is so obvious it feels like it should go without saying, but the point is frequently obscured, for a couple of reasons. First, because “every kid can learn” is a more pleasing and simplistic narrative than “kids from disadvantaged subpopulations can not only learn but can learn sufficiently to close large gaps against competitors who are still learning more themselves.” Second, because the problem suggests a solution that is politically untenable, to put it mildly — to close gaps, we need to prevent the students who are ahead from learning at all.
I think there are a great many people on the so-called left who would be glad to accept that deal. Close the gap by any means necessary. There’s no necessary connection between wanting equality of outcomes and wanting better outcomes.