The achievement gap and the opportunity gap are related but distinct concepts, and they both contribute to disparities in academic outcomes for students. Unequal opportunities lead to unequal outcomes, which is why addressing both is essential. When the circumstances into which people are born — such as their race, ethnicity, ZIP code, and socioeconomic status — predict the likelihood of decreased access to social and economic mobility in life, this is referred to as “the opportunity gap.” And like many others, our community has grappled with opportunity gaps for a long time.
The achievement gap is the result of the opportunity gap. Students from under-resourced backgrounds often face greater challenges like limited access to quality afterschool programs and reduced exposure to enriching educational experiences. As a result, they tend to fall behind their more privileged peers, leading to lasting disparities in academic achievement.
Closing the opportunity gap is not just a matter of equity; it's essential for fostering a fair and just society and ensuring every child will be able to fulfill our Communities Bold Community goal of having ALL Asheville City and Buncombe County students graduate from high school ready and fully prepared to pursue their goals and dreams, by 2035.
UWABC understands no one person, group, or organization will close this opportunity gap alone. That is why UWABC works through a lens of collective impact. A collective impact initiative is multiple community organizations and stakeholders working to maximize each other's impact by addressing the problem's multifaceted nature.