nation report card

Unacceptable. That’s the word from David Driscoll, chairman of The National Assessment Governing Board. The nation’s high school seniors are flatlining in reading and math skills. The U.S. national report card on the two subjects has flatline, and shows many students are unprepared for college or the workplace.

Only 25 percent of high school seniors performed well in math as part of a national standardized test. One-quarter of all high school seniors rate proficient in the subject area. Reading fared a bit better, with 40 percent of students hitting the proficient level.

There was little change in the numbers from 2009, the last time the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test was last administered. Maybe shorten the name of it and students won’t fall asleep. Someone really wanted that NAEP acronym.

“Achievement at this very critical point in a student’s life must be improved to ensure success after high school,” Driscoll said.

While proficiency rates are stagnating, high school graduation rates are hitting records. It now stands at 80 percent. One theory being tossed about as cause for the stagnation is the soaring graduation rate. Lower-performing students, that would have dropped out before, are now in the sample size. You could always just pull a Wall Street and blame it on snow. Works for the Dow.

Findings out of the report show the true reason for the stagnation. Poor teachers. If the class isn’t engaging, the students are more likely to tune it out. Findings among the report are as follows.

Students who reported rarely or never discussing reading interpretations in class had average scores lower than those who did daily or almost daily.

Math scores were higher for students who reported math was their favorite subject, believed the subject would help them in the future or thought their class was engaging.

Education continues to be lacking in the U.S. Estimates from community and four-year colleges show that over one-third of students need some remedial education. Institutions are rushing to reform the remedial courses, as only one-fourth of students that enter into those classes graduate.

Education Secretary, Arne Duncan released a statement on the scores. “We must reject educational stagnation in our high schools, and as a nation, we must do better for all students, especially for African-American and Latino students.”

If the US. government is serious about the scores and ability of our students, then it comes down to Congress working with the President. Education shouldn’t be the wedge issue it has become of late.