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Statement on Shocking Education Report

Assessment Finds Majority of U.S. Students Have Declined in Core Subjects


WASHINGTON D.C. (10.30.19) — The Center for Education Reform (CER), a national leader in the fight to achieve educational excellence in the United States, today issued a statement by CER founder and CEO Jeanne Allen regarding the new scores revealed this morning by the National Center on Education Statistics in the annual National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), also known as “The Nation’s Report Card.” 

Key insights from the NAEP report include the following:

  • READING PROFICIENCY: National results have dropped in both grades, with the lowest performing students doing worse

  • MATHEMATICS PROFICIENCY: National results are mixed. Most states remained flat; National 4th grade scores rose 1 point, while 8th grade dropped a point, with the lowest performing students doing worse

  • White, black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaskan Native eighth-grade students all scored lower on reading in 2019 than in 2017

Statement by CER Founder & CEO Jeanne Allen:

“The NAEP proficiency scores announced today should be shocking to every family, employer, and policymaker. They demonstrate that the vast majority of our nation’s education systems are simply failing to meet the very basic educational needs of American students, threatening their dreams for the future.

“But while the nation’s overall scores are either flat or declined, there is extraordinary news from the nation’s capital, where the federal government and city leaders worked together to ensure that parents and educators have the power to design, manage, and innovate their schools.

“In DC where a majority of students are no longer confined to their zip code and almost 50% of students are in charter schools, students showed gains in almost every category. Student proficiency has now shown steady and consistent improvement since 1996, when the District’s charter school law first went into effect.

“Once ranked at or near the bottom by every measure, the District’s average is now close to the national average, and achievement in reading and math continues to grow at higher rates than almost every other jurisdiction, particularly among traditionally low-performing students.  

“Combined with data from states such as Arizona and Florida where a prevalence of educational options exist, this initial look at the NAEP data suggests that academic proficiency scores rise where educational choices are robust.

“But even this progress is not good enough. We need to fight to end the flatline of failure by removing the bureaucratic burdens and failed policies that keep students from getting the education they deserve. We need to fight to end the absurdity of systems like Chicago Public Schools, where for 10 days students have been kept out of school because adults think the system is about them. This is surreal and needs to stop. No longer should students’ futures be determined by their zip codes, anywhere.

“In equally shocking news, ACT released a report, The Condition of College & Career Readiness, showing that college preparedness in math and English are the lowest they’ve been in 15 years. ACT is one of the best barometers of student progress, and our college-bound kids are doing worse than they have in the ACT’s history. This report, along with the NAEP report, show a steady decline in proficiency, a future no one wants to see for the next generation of Americans.

“As CER Chairman Michael Moe argues, every individual should have the opportunity to participate in the future, and the path to that future is education. Without it, a bright future for millions is in peril.

“We need everyone involved in the education journey – parents, teachers, and students alike – to join us in this battle.”


Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans — particularly our youth — ensuring that conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education.