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U.S. Gets an “F” in Nation’s Report Card

CER Press Release
Washington, DC
November 1, 2011

Barely 40 percent of the nation’s 4th- and 8th-grade students are proficient in math and reading, an alarming statistic that would be considered failure in any grade, any school or on any state report card.

The results of the 2011 National Assessment of Education Progress (Commonly called “The Nations’ Report Card”) showed a statistically insignificant gain of 1 percentage point over 2009 scores. Nationwide only 13 states showed any significant progress at all. The District of Columbia is one of the only states to increase in both 4th- and 8th-grade math and reading scores, but it still lags behind most other states and its students achieve only 21 percent on reading in 4th-grade and 17 percent on 8th-grade math.

“Our nation’s students can’t afford for us to sit idly by while another year passes with relatively no improvements. The Nation’s Report Card demonstrates the status quo does not work,” said Jeanne Allen, president of The Center for Education Reform. “We must overhaul our educational system. We need revolutionary change, if we want to break free from the failing trends of the past and truly celebrate student achievement.”

Allen continued, “As a nation, we are well behind our educational goals and student achievement continues to flatline. In two years, since the last release Report Card, math and reading scores have shown little to no improvement.”

Forty-two states have shown no significant improvement on either test since 2009. Closing the achievement gap also seems to be impossible, with the gap between white and black students decreasing by only one point to a 25-point gap. The gap between white and Hispanic students was also 20 points or higher across all assessments. In reading, 4th-grade students stayed the same since 2009 and 8th graders only marginally improved.

“While we remain stuck in mediocrity, other nations are gaining on, if not surpassing, the U.S. in the global economy. How can we compete when our complacent education system is satisfied with nearly a third of our children failing to achieve even basic knowledge in math and reading? The longer we wait – the longer we let achievement flatline – the further we’ll find ourselves at the bottom of the list of powerful, even worth mentioning, economies,” said Allen.

See the NAEP 2011 math scores and reading scores.