Monday, February 17, 2020

Dumbing American Children Down

Yesterday, in a spasm of optimism, I suggested that a third of American schoolchildren barely knew how to read. In truth, as I learned, the number is closer to two thirds. That means, two thirds of American schoolchildren cannot read at grade level. 

For those who were touting the wondrous advantages of Common Core curriculum reform, these results suggest that they were wrong. We already know that Johnny and Janey cannot count. Now, apparently, they cannot read. It would appear that children have become dumber since Common Core was introduced.

Anyway, for those who like the data, a New York Times article last year has the gloomy story.

America’s fourth and eighth graders are losing ground in their ability to read literature and academic texts, according to a rigorous national assessment released Wednesday that is likely to fuel concerns over student achievement after decades of tumult on the educational landscape.

Two out of three children did not meet the standards for reading proficiency set by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a test administered by the National Center for Education Statistics, the research arm of the Education Department.

The dismal results reflected the performance of about 600,000 students in reading and math, whose scores made up what is called the “nation’s report card.” The average eighth-grade reading score declined in more than half of the states compared with 2017, the last time the test was given. The average score in fourth-grade reading declined in 17 states. Math scores remained relatively flat in most states.

Only 35 percent of fourth graders were proficient in reading in 2019, down from 37 percent in 2017; 34 percent of eighth graders were proficient in reading, down from 36 percent. Overall student progress in reading has stalled in the last decade, with the highest performers stagnating and the lowest-achieving students falling further behind.

Is it not remarkable that the highest performing students have been stagnating while the lowest-achieving students have been falling behind? Doesn’t this sound like the result of the policies instituted by intrepid educational policymakers who want to close what they call the achievement gap by eliminating school tracking and merit based school assignments?

At the least, I feel compelled to set the record straight. If we think that we are going to compete with the nations of Asia with a school population that can barely read or count, we are seriously deluded.


David Foster said...

This is not only a matter of economics....people who can't or don't like to read anything anything of any complexity are less-likely to be intelligent voters. This is a major reason why memes are becoming so important as a means of communication and persuasion.

More here: Meme Wars

Peter B said...

You might even think that curricula in the US are written and promulgated by the country's enemies.

UbuMaccabee said...

Ok, so it’s CoronaVirus or bust.

I just wonder what my role will be in the new Idiocrasy? Just kidding, Long live Ubu the King and his army of Twitter meat puppets.

On another note, have you tried to talk to one of these students lately? Ma Ubu works with them. I meet sometimes. All I can think of is “dinner”

370H55V said...

But they sure feel good about themselves.

Anonymous said...

This is nothing to do with the post, but not sure how else I might share this article:

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons I dislike the NEA is that they were the ones who brought Howard Zinn 9into the classroom. They did it, in most cases, surreptitiously. I would posit that they did it to destroy this country's culture and to justify their hatred of this country, especially during the 60s.

Sam L. said...

Peter B, I blame the Democrats and all of the Left. Which includes Zinn.

Sam L. said...

Anon, I gave up on The Atlantic some years ago.