It’s hard to talk about education without addressing the very real problem of achievement gaps between school children. The term “achievement gap” refers to inequalities in academic performance between groups of students. Most often, it pertains to racial disparities, with students of color tending to underperform, while their white peers attain more academic success. The good news is that the racial achievement gap has been narrowing for decades and is on course for elimination.
The bad news is that the income achievement gap, which refers to the disparity in academic achievement between high and low-income students, has been growing for decades, and substantially worsened during the pandemic. In fact, reading and math scores between high and low-income students are now twice as large as between students of color and their white peers. The outlook for low-income kids is bleak.
Combine this staggering fact with the latest in education trends: a massive rise in the number of homeschooling families due to coronavirus. As governments and health organizations worked to control the spread of the coronavirus, many schools closed their doors, which accelerated the growth of homeschooling. This produced a disparity between parents with the ability to homeschool their children and those who lack the financial means to do so.
One organization that is addressing this issue head-on is Multisori, a Montessori education company that provides an uncomplicated, but authentic, Montessori curriculum for early learners. Multisori was founded by Mandi Zielinski, a Montessori-educated attorney turned entrepreneur and homeschooling mom. Zielinski notes that early Montessori education has been identified as the ideal solution to eradicating the income achievement gap, which is why she operates Multisori using a buy-one give-one model: every time a Multisori curriculum is purchased, Zielinski gives one away to a family in need. “We have provided scholarships to students in every continent except Antarctica,” notes Zielinski.
As a busy, professional homeschooling mother, Zielinski is a huge advocate of the Montessori approach to learning and teaching, but she recognizes that there were several difficulties along her journey of implementing this methodology outside of the traditional Montessori classroom. After realizing that she was not alone in this struggle, the passionate entrepreneur was driven by her desire to help others implement an authentic Montessori experience in their homes.
“We offer individuals who are interested in homeschooling via Montessori education a comprehensive curriculum full of joyful and transformative learning opportunities designed to maximize childhood potential while instilling in children a deep love of learning. This includes art, science, math, practical life, sensorial, geography and language arts for grades prek-3, prek-4, kindergarten and first.” Mulitsori provides scholarships on a quarterly basis for financial assistance in homes that may otherwise be adversely affected by their economic situations. Zielinski anticipates growing Multisori’s offerings to extend to both younger and older children in the coming years.
“EVERY child deserves access to top notch education that sets the stage for a lifetime of success, regardless of ability to pay,” explains Zielinski. The income achievement gap is a complex problem that requires a comprehensive approach to address. By focusing on access to resources, quality education, and developing positive relationships between students and educators, Multisori is working to bridge the gap and ensure that all students have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.