Most of you have probably seen the (not so) new information on how exercise helps kids learn. What would happen if you took some low-income schools, and without doing anything about pedagogy, did the following:
-increased the amount of PE
-reduced class size to 16
-provided nutritious food
-fed them breakfast
-fixed their vision
-fixed their teeth
-provided high quality mental health care (not just medication)
-gave them food to take home if they were worried about eating
and compared these with similar schools where you didn't do anything?
How much of the "achievement gap" would this deal with?
I'm willing to bet these changes would fundamentally change what happened in the schools receiving services and resources. (Whether it would change "achievement measured by tests. . . I'm not sure I really care). I'm also willing to bet that if you compared these schools with schools where you did none of this but worked intensively on pedagogy, you would find that the schools with these targeted services and resources would do significantly better and that the improvements would be much easier to maintain.
But, of course, we're in education. We do pedagogy.
Of course, focusing on pedagogy puts on the blame on those who teach pedagogy and on teachers.
(Note, I haven't gotten to reading the material on the Harlem project, but they also work on pedagogy.)