Psychologist Edmund W. Gordon speaks about academic achievement gap

Sanjna Reddy

Psychologist Edmund W. Gordon spoke about the academic achievement gap in the American education system Wednesday in the Gordon-White Building named in his honor. 

As this year’s W.E.B Du Bois Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Black Studies, Gordon discussed how factors outside of schooling can impact students’ ability to learn. About 40 people attended the event, said Shaleiah Fox, director of external relations for the Black Studies at UT. 

“Learning how to listen, learning how to learn, learning what to appreciate, learning what to pay attention to are not the things you go to school to learn, but they are learned with the significant adults in your life,“ Gordon said. “If I go back to the beginning, I’m arguing that school is important, but it is not the end of education, nor is it the beginning.“

Gordon shared insight from his over 70-year career during his talk and explained how academic achievement gaps form through the lens of educational psychology.

Fox said having Gordon’s support at UT is an extremely valuable asset to the University.

“Dr. Gordon’s legacy and contributions to the field of educational psychology and even how we define education attainment cannot be overstated,” Fox said. “So, to have his support, to have his papers here at UT, to have his name on our building (are) really ways to make UT part of a national conversation.”

Alice Strenger, curriculum specialist at Round Rock ISD, attended the talk to learn about providing more equitable teaching and learning experiences to students. She said it’s important for educators to explore what it means to be Black and Brown students in the community.

“We want to make sure we have our eye on what’s happening with all of our kids and all of our students, but especially pay attention to what’s happening with those who are traditionally marginalized,” Strenger said.

Loriene Roy, professor at the UT School of Information, said the event appealed to her for multiple reasons, one of them being that Gordon’s son is also a current professor at UT and her colleague. 

“This was his father speaking, so I would get insight into my colleague, and it was a wonderful way to celebrate something that we share in terms of concerns about education, especially kids education,” Roy said. “(Gordon’s) attention over … the productive lifetime and perspective was a wonderful opportunity to hear from.”