Silent Progress on Education

Kate Walsh recently wrote an article for Fordham’s Flypaper that discusses the good news in American education. Below are excerpts from her article:

There is new clear evidence that we are making slow, gradual gains adding up to significant change. Though you almost had to read between the lines to appreciate the genuinely good news in a recent Department of Education report, “The Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups,” and good news it was, indisputably. It cited the following progress:

— Since 1992, on the fourth grade NAEP reading assessment, the white-black score gap narrowed from 32 points to 26 points. This was not due to a drop in white scores, which went up by 8 points, but results from an even larger gain of 14 points among black students.

— Similarly, on the eighth grade reading NAEP, the white-Hispanic gap closed significantly from 26 to 21 points. Again, Hispanic students made larger gains than did white students (12 points compared to 7 points).

— Since 1990, high school completion rates for young adults have gone up for all students, but most impressively for Hispanic Students — increasing from 59 to 88 per cent. Black students made great gains (from 83 to 92 percent), with both groups outpacing white student gains (from 90 to 95 percent).

— The number of bachelor degrees earned by Hispanic students doubled since 2004. It went up 46 percent for black students.

From another source altogether, a new report by Richard Whitmire for The 74/The Alumni found that some of the better-known charter organizations—including KIPP, Uncommon Schools, Achievement First, and YES Prep—are improving college graduation rates for poor kids by three to five times what our traditional public schools are doing.

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