3 Achievement Gap Problems and How You Can Help


by Zena Smith

Last week on the MASTERs Plus EduBlog, we discussed a big problem in our small community—the Achievement Gap: what it is, who it affects, and a bit about how to help. This week we’d like to delve deeper by looking at three specific problems underlying this longstanding problem.

One of the most perplexing parts of the Achievement Gap is that its causes are unclear to most, and no hard-and-fast solution exists. We’d like to do our part by explaining the causes that contribute to this educational dilemma, what we’re doing to help, and how YOU can too.

PROBLEM #1: Students from low socioeconomic background cannot finance the same academic opportunities as their wealthier peers.

studentparentIt’s frustrating to admit, but a quality education often comes with a price. Students from financially stable backgrounds may enjoy the privileges of private education, technology in their schools, professional tutoring when they need it, extracurricular activities, and post-secondary opportunities. On the other hand, those who grow up with less must do what they can with the bare basics. Their public education may be hit or miss, tutoring tends to be out of the question, and college can seem like a far off dream.

What both groups of students have in common is the chance to achieve through hard work in the classroom. But when the starting line is different, it’s no surprise when those on the shorter path to success finish the race first.

OASISLogoOUR SOLUTION: OASIS Educational Foundation exists to level the playing fold by providing educational assistance, free of charge, to students who could use it most. In our first year (2015), OASIS will select three students who demonstrate the financial need and academic ability to succeed big. Then we’ll provide qualified, professional tutors to make sure they don’t stray from the path to success. If they fall behind, we’ll help our students catch up. When they’re out of synch with their teacher, we’ll reach out to help them get back on the same page. And when they don’t understand the homework, we’ll be there to clear up their confusion and help them get it done. All without charging a dime.


PROBLEM #2: Students who grow up in poverty may not receive support—academically or emotionally—at home.

Boy Doing HomeworkBetween parents who work double duty to provide their students with the basics and those who never received the education they deserved in their younger days, many families are unavailable or simply unable to render the support their students need, when they need it most. No matter how intelligent, intuitive, or hardworking a student may be, all of our children need support outside of school hours to keep them on track in the classroom. No matter if it comes in the form of help on homework, encouragement when they lose confidence in themselves, or strong guidance when bad influences lead them astray, this kind of assistance—or the lack thereof—is frequently what separates the students who stay on track from those who lose their way or fall behind.

OASISLogoOUR SOLUTION: The free tutors at OASIS Educational Foundation also double as mentors and strong adult influences for all of our students. It is heartbreaking and unfair that students from the toughest backgrounds must also struggle through a lack of help and good advice at home. We want to make sure that our students have access not only to the academic assistance they need, but the kinds of encouragement and positive role models that will help them grow and develop into focused, responsible, and hardworking young adults. By working with students in nurturing 1-on-1 study environments, our tutors are able to develop real relationships with them–the kind that students will look forward to and depend on when they final school bell rings.


PROBLEM #3: A high correlation between poverty and crime rates means many students lack safe and stress-free places to study after school.

student2It is no secret that dire financial circumstances come with unwanted side effects. Growing up and living in poverty unfortunately places students in rougher neighborhoods where the risks of crime and violence are always present. To live in fear of what might happen next, or where the next meal might come from, means these students simply cannot focus on less immediate—but equally crucial—matters, such as doing the night’s homework or studying for a final exam.

OASISLogoOUR SOLUTION: At OASIS Educational Foundation, we’re as proud of our learning environment we we are of our professional tutors. A central tenet of our organizational mission is to provide a transformative space where students can let down their guard, find their focus, and enjoy a worry-free educational experience. When students come to OASIS, they can enjoy a few hours each day where the only thing on their plate is the math problem they’ve been assigned or the test material they’ll see at the end of the week. Our goal is to provide top-notch instruction, but it is also to provide safety, security, and success for all of our students.

OASIS Educational Foundation is fully dedicated to closing the achievement gap. By solving each of the smaller problems that lead to this big problem, we feel we can improve the lives and futures of the young people in our community. We’re ready to launch and to host our inaugural class in 2015.

That said, we are asking for your help. We’re currently gathering funds to spread achievement gap awareness in and around our community, and to bolster the resources we’re able to offer to our first class of students.

If you are interested in closing the achievement gap once an for all, you can help us directly by donating to OASIS Educational Foundation. Below you will see our fundraising goals, but any contribution brings us closer to providing the solution we care so much about.

NOTE: Should you choose to donate, your contribution will be tax deductible through the fundraising platform, Powered By Action

In advance, we want to thank you for your concern and assistance. We couldn’t do this without the support from our community.


covers the costs of outreach materials received by OASIS’s prospective student body.


pays for one month of professional blogging and/or social media services.


finances a Corporate Sponsorship Package to help us build relationships with business who believe in us most.


allows OASIS to produce core marketing materials (i.e. brochure, application, etc.) with the help of a professional graphic designer.


builds our company website or maintains it for one year.


provides a desktop computer so OASIS can produce the marketing / communications materials it needs on its own.

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