Nation’s Education Report Card reveals U.S. has ‘wiped out three decades of gains’
Education Department data released Monday shows our nation’s schools recorded the “largest drop in math scores ever this year, with fourth- and eighth-grade students in nearly every state showing significant declines” reports the Wall Street Journal.
Know as the ‘Nation’s Report Card’ the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress, revealed the nationwide plunge in reading “wiped out three decades of gains.”
Low-performing fourth-grade students saw larger declines in both math and reading scores compared with high-performing ones. Black and Hispanic students in the fourth grade saw larger score drops in math than white students. “White students were the only racial group with declines at eighth-grade reading. Gaps in math widened between fourth-grade students who are eligible for free and reduced-price lunches and those who aren’t.”
Federal test results released in September revealed the largest drop in fourth-grade reading scores since 1990 and the first-ever decline in math.
Fordham Institute President Michael Petrilli said the results should serve as a wake-up call for policy makers and school-district officials around the country. “It’s a huge deal,” he said. “We have lost a huge amount of the progress that we have been making over the course of decades and it’s going to take years to catch up.”
The actual numbers are astounding. “Average math scores for eighth-graders in 2022 dropped to 274 out of a possible 500, falling 8 points from 2019. Reading scores declined 3 points, to 260.”
“No state or jurisdiction posted gains in math in either grade, nor did any of the 26 large districts included in the analysis. Utah was the only state where the drop in the eighth-grade math score wasn’t statistically significant. Nationwide, 38% of eighth-graders tested below basic achievement levels in math. The basic level denotes partial mastery.”
Of particular note was the Fourth-grade which had the lowest average reading score. “The tests, administered to U.S. students ages 9 and 13, are regarded as key indicators for student achievement and future trajectory. Achieving reading proficiency by fourth grade is critical because students at that point must use reading to learn other subjects. Math proficiency in eighth grade is one of the most significant predictors of success in high school, educators said.”
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said the scores were “a reminder of the impact this pandemic had on our learners” and urged districts to intensify recovery efforts such as tutoring.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
State-by-state comparisons of public-school scores show Massachusetts remained the top performer in most categories while New Mexico earned the lowest scores in every category.
A spokeswoman for the New Mexico Public Education Department said the state is investing in efforts to boost achievement including raising teacher pay.
Los Angeles was the only place—city or state—to show a significant increase in eighth-grade reading. Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said factors including strong attendance for online courses and summer classes contributed to improved reading scores there.
Detroit remained the worst performer in all categories among urban districts, while Cleveland experienced the steepest drops in fourth grade. Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon said low school attendance and high numbers of teachers out sick contributed to the drop in scores in the district.
Educators cited different causes for overall declines:
Existing gaps in opportunity and learning experiences between white students and students of color, as well as between well-funded schools and underfunded ones, worsened in the pandemic, National Education Association President Becky Pringle said.
“Collaborative mathematics is extremely important,” Mr. Miller said. “And, yet, when you’re looking at your peer on a screen, you can’t talk to them, because only one person can talk at a time. There’s not a lot of collaboration going on.”
Students struggled with technology during periods of remote learning and were distracted by sickness and economic hardships in their communities, said Arlyssa Heard, a parent organizer for the advocacy group 482Forward in Detroit.
“It was a crazy time,” Ms. Heard said. “I don’t think anyone should be surprised by these test scores.” the
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Sixth grade girls allegedly coaxed into ‘secret’ club that hides gender transition from parents
Two families in Colorado are suing their school district, claiming that their daughters were encouraged to join a “secret” club in which children are persuaded to transition, but also keep the club’s activities concealed from parents.
The Daily Caller reports:
The parents say their daughters joined due to staff encouragement. America First Policy Institute (AFPI) and Illumine Legal filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Poudre School District (PSD) on behalf of Johnathan and Erin Lee and Nick and Linnaea Jurich, who allege that their sixth grade daughters were recruited by a teacher to join Wellington Middle-High School’s “Genders and Sexualities Alliance” (GSA) Art club in May 2021 where teachers encouraged students to change genders.
PSD employees allegedly told the girls to keep the meetings a “secret” from their parents, including that the club has a “what happens at GSA stays at GSA policy,” the lawsuit stated.
The school district’s “Guidelines Supporting Transgender and Gender Expansive Nonconforming Students” states that “[p]rior to notification of any parent/guardian or guardian [sic] regarding the transition process, school staff should work closely with the student to assess the degree, if any, the parent/guardian will be involved in the process,” the lawsuit showed. This policy expressly excludes parents from their child’s gender transition, the lawsuit states.
One of the girls allegedly told her parents she would be transitioning genders to a boy, shortly after she joined the club, according to the lawsuit. The girl’s parents say she had never expressed any confusion about her gender prior to joining the GSA club.
Additionally, one of the girls’ mental health “significantly declined following her experiences in the GSA club, leading to her attempting suicide by drinking an ounce of bleach in December 2021, the lawsuit alleged.”
The GSA club featured guest speakers such as one teacher who ran “SPLASH,” (Supporting Pride Learning and Social Happenings), a group that focuses on educating students on gender identity and sexual orientation, the lawsuit alleged. While speaking to the GSA club in May 2021, the teacher allegedly told students that “if they are not completely comfortable in their bodies, that means that they are transgender.”
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