In my last post, I tried to find some evidence of the miracle that Arne Duncan and his ilk have brought about with their relentless assault on public schools and teachers. I was mostly looking at reading scores.

Here, let’s look at the gaps in math scores. Every single one of these graphs is taken from the very recent **NAEP Long-Term Trends report for 2012**.

This graph shows that the scores for both black and white 9-year-old children have been generally trending upwards since 1973, which is good. Also, the gap between their scores is going down, which is also good. But look more carefully: when did the gap get smaller? Almost all of the shrinking of the gap took place from 1973 to 1986. Since then, the gap has been pretty stubborn, widening and shrinking a little from year to year. Certainly no “crushing of the achievement gap” as the EduDEformers promised over the past four years.

For 13 year olds in math, it’s about the same story. Just about all of the shrinking of the achievement gap happened between 1973 and 1986. In fact, it’s a little wider now than it was in 1986!! So much for crushing that achievement gap under the Rhees and Kleins and Kochs and Gateses….

For 17 year olds, the story is getting to sound like a repeated chorus: no narrowing of the gap in the past few years; in fact, it’s wider now than it was in 1990. There was a good bit of improvement in narrowing that gap from 1973 through 1990 — the heyday of affirmative action, but either a retreat or stagnation ever since.

So, once again, even by their own yardsticks, the Billionaire’s Club of Educational Deformers has struck out.

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So what can we point to in education between the years of 73-86? I ask because I started teaching in 2003 and remember very little of my education before middle school. I am grateful for your experience and hope you have some insights.

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The data used in the study comes from administrative records created by North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction and maintained by the North Carolina Education Research Data Center and are not nationally representative. North Carolina requires all students to take standardized achievement tests in both math and reading at the end of every grade between grades 3 and 8. In order to make comparisons across years, Clotfelter (2006) normalized the scaled scores for each test in every year over all students in the state who took the test so that each test would have a mean score of 0 and a standard deviation of 1. On this normalized scale, positive scores denote above-average performances relative to the statewide average, and negative scores denote below-average performance. Analysis by Clotfelter (2006) found gaps between four different racial groups: whites, Asians, Hispanics, and blacks.

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[…] I have shown repeatedly (see here, here, here, here, and here for starters. Or else here) DC has the widest gap of the entire USA between the […]

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