“The Nation’s Report Card” was released last month.
What is that, you ask?
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), first administered in 1969, is the largest continuing and nationally representative assessment of what our nation’s students know and can do in subjects such as mathematics, reading, science, and writing. Standard administration practices are implemented to provide a common measure of student achievement.
Teachers, principals, parents, policymakers, and researchers all use NAEP results to assess progress and develop ways to improve education in the United States. The results of NAEP are released as The Nation’s Report Card, and are available for the nation, states, and in some cases, urban districts.
Again, these results provide a barometer on how states and the country as a whole are performing in the classroom.
Analysis of the latest data shows progress overall has stalled. And that’s unfortunate because the status quo is abominable.
Take a look at this snapshot for the the report. Look at the green circles that show the percentages of certain age groups that are at or above proficient in math and reading.
Look at those Grade 8 numbers.
They indicate that:
67% of 8th graders across America are not proficient in math.
65% of 8th graders across America are not proficient in reading.
(The other circles show the high and low end of the scale for states and districts. For example, in grade 4 mathematics, Massachusetts had 53 percent of students at or above Proficient while at the lower end, Louisiana had 27 percent of students at or above Proficient).
On his radio program today WTMJ’s Steve Scaffidi called the figures “an indictment” of the education system in our country.
This report comes at a time when teachers in some areas are protesting, even striking for higher salaries (And yes we all know the job of teaching is important and quite difficult and that students bring a myriad of socioeconomic issues into the classroom).
Today’s read is from Andrew G. Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and Jason Richwine, a public policy analyst in Washington, D.C.
Recent protests across the country have reinforced the perception that public school teachers are dramatically underpaid. They’re not: the average teacher already enjoys market-level wages plus retirement benefits vastly exceeding those of private-sector workers. Across-the-board salary increases, such as those enacted in Arizona, West Virginia, and Kentucky, are the wrong solution to a non-problem.
I encourage reading the entire piece that is well-researched.