Daily Dish Signup Sidebar

The Daily Dish

Another Black Eye for U.S. Education

Eakinomics: Another Black Eye for U.S. Education

Yesterday saw the release of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) long-term trend assessment. It is important to note that these data were collected prior to the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even more important, the data are not good news. Specifically: “The reading and mathematics scores of 13-year-old students fell between 2012 and 2020—the first time in the almost 50-year history” of the NAEP.

The NAEP displays a lot of comparisons to the 1970s when it was first launched. Interesting history. But the most pressing issues are the trends since 2012. The key results are:

Reading

  • The average reading score (220) for 9-year-old students was not significantly different from the average score in 2012.
  • The average reading score (260) for 13-year-old students was 3 points lower than in 2012.
  • Scores in reading for the lowest-performing 9- and 13-year-old students (at the 10th percentile) decreased from 2012.

Mathematics

  • The average mathematics score (241) for 9-year-old students was not significantly different from the average score in 2012.
  • The average mathematics score (280) for 13-year-old students was 5 points lower than in 2012.
  • Scores in mathematics for lower-performing 9- and 13-year-old students (at the 10th and 25th percentiles) decreased from 2012.

In short, educational progress is stalled at best, in reverse for 13-year-olds, and sliding backward fastest for those most in need of help.

Pointing out economic and social inequality is all the rage in policy circles these days. And spending billions and trillions of taxpayer dollars on universal pre-kindergarten, free community college, and student loan forgiveness is what passes for education policy at the moment. But where is the outrage over a decade of year after year failure for the K-12 system to improve? And where is the response to an absolute decline in the outcomes the K-12 system is producing? What is the policy for rescuing these children from a future of economic distress and social immobility? Crickets.

Disclaimer

Fact of the Day

Since January 1, the federal government has published $199.2 billion in total net costs and 52.3 million hours of net annual paperwork burden increases.