I read an article in Education Week by Stephen Sawchuk that raises the question of whether these gaps are due to racism or inappropriate placement. I believe that Latinos have fallen far below black and whites because most do not have a solid foundation in reading and are not proficient by age of 9. This is my opinion based on my own research and experience.
I have a hard time believing that a more certified teacher will improve the gap of blacks and Latinos. But I find that if a student is reading at grade level or above, that student will likely succeed in Algebra 1.
It took me, a Latina from Miami, FL, 30 years to learn to read proficiently. I don’t remember being taught the essentials of grammar well in upper elementary and I believe I still needed phonics in 2nd grade. But these are essential for logic training in middle school. Essential for upper level math. However, I also think back in the 80s there was more discrimination than now. And I always remember feeling like I was placed in some lower math and it was boring, non-challenging, and way too easy.
Therefore, I believe strongly that as a nation, we are failing to teach children to read proficiently. And if we were to improve this, our math and science gap would improve.