Hialeah, Miami Lead Nation in Closing Achievement Gap

Good news for two of South Florida's largest cities: Hialeah and Miami are leading the nation with the lowest student achievement gaps.

The poorest and richest students are performing close to the same in those cities, according to the Education Equality Index, which studied the achievement gap in 100 of the largest cities across the country.

"It is a point of privilege and pride for me to have been part of this journey," Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said.

Carvalho, joined by Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez, made the announcement Thursday at Twin Lakes Elementary School in Hialeah.

"Teachers who effectively teach not just some kids but are able, within the same classroom, to simultaneously teach the one who is both low-performing, the one who has recently arrived, the one who doesn't yet speak English," Carvalho said.

Hialeah ranked No. 1 in 2014, out of 35 states studied, with the smallest gap in performance between kids who received free or reduced meals and those who did not.

"It made me feel proud because I know that my school is a good school and makes me feel like I'm learning what I need to learn and makes me prepared for the future," said Melanie Gonzalez, 5th grade student.

The City of Miami is also closing the gap, ranking 3rd nationally, neither an easy feat says the district when you account for high-levels of poverty and language challenges.

"A great honor and it's kind of rewarding to see that your hard work, day in and day out, is recognized," said Jacquelyn Villaneuva, teacher.

"That takes expertise, it takes deliberate action, it takes passion, it takes wisdom. Our teachers are doing it," Carvalho said.

While the district and elected officials celebrate in Hialeah and Miami, the index rankings still show overall, a massive achievement gap throughout the country for the states studied.

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