Boston’s gap grows from inequality, not teacher lapses

I agree with Samuel R. Tyler and Pam Kocher that disparities in academic achievement among Boston Public Schools students must be addressed (“Boston Teachers Union contract must address achievement gap,” Opinion, May 20).

But their analysis of why racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities exist begins and ends with a dismissive “Sure, student demographics are contributing factors.” Ignoring research showing the impact poverty, speaking English as a second language, or disability has on test scores, Tyler and Kocher blame teachers for achievement gaps.

Both empirical evidence and my own experiences as a longtime Boston Public Schools parent say that that’s wrong. It’s like telling a coach, “Sure, your kids are competing with holes in their shoes, a 50-pound backpack, and they started the race after other teams, but I’m going to punish you if they lag behind.”