Commentary: Large Racial Reading and Math Performance Gaps Persist as Children Age

The dominant response to the recently-released NAEP Report Card on 4th and 8th grade proficiency scores has been to focus on the adverse effects of school closures: declining competencies, particularly for the lowest performing students. What is buried in the report is the continued alarmingly low black student scores on both reading and math sections and their inability to close the racial gap as they move from the 4th to 8th grade.

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Biden Education Secretary Miguel Cardona Blames Abysmal U.S. Student National Test Scores on Trump

The Biden education department announced Thursday that U.S. students’ plummeting scores in reading and math during the COVID-19 pandemic is all due to former President Donald Trump.

“Today’s data confirm the significant impact the prior Administration’s mismanagement of the pandemic has had on our children’s progress and academic wellbeing,” said Biden Education Secretary Miguel Cardona Thursday, following the report that U.S. students showed their steepest decline in decades in math and reading scores during the COVID school shutdowns.

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Report Card Measuring U.S. Grades in Education Shows ‘Concerning’ Results

For the first time in nearly 50 years, the National Assessment of Educational Progress results showed that the reading and mathematics scores of 13-year-old students fell from 2012 to 2020.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results showed no change in the scores of 9-year-old students since 2012, according to the assessment, also known as The Nation’s Report Card. Among lower-performing students, scores declined in both the 9 and 13-year-old groups in both reading and mathematics.

“This was the first time in the almost 50-year history of the long-term trend assessments that we observed declines among 13-year-olds,” said National Center for Education Statistics Commissioner Peggy G. Carr in a press release. “These performance drops are especially notable among lower-performing students, who no longer demonstrate competency in skills that students were able to do almost a decade ago in both subjects and age groups.”

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Michigan Reading Scholarship Advocates Lament ‘Anti-Voucher’ Rhetoric Used Against Vetoed Program

When Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) line-item vetoed a $155 million program for K-5 reading scholarships in the $17 billion school budget she signed earlier this month, teachers’ unions and other school choice opponents likened the scholarships to vouchers. 

Many proponents of the scholarship expenditure are responding that while they would welcome broader choice-oriented education reform, a plain reading of the program does not jibe with unions’ and school administrators stated concerns about impact on public education.

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Utah House Passes Bill to Ban Critical Race Theory in Public Schools

Students in class, listening to the teacher at the front of the room

Utah is one of many states in America considering banning critical race theory in public schools.

Republican State Representative Steve Christiansen sponsored a bill that takes direct aim at critical race theory concepts being taught in public education. The bill passed the Utah House and is awaiting the signature of the Speaker to move onto the state Senate.

That bill, HR901, calls on the Utah Board of Education for a re-evaluation of guidelines to weed out critical race theory in publicly funded classrooms.

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