So Much For NCLB: Racial Achievement Gap Wide as Ever

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Oh dear. Here’s the bad news on minority educational achievement:

Between 2004 and last year, scores for young minority students increased, but so did those of white students, leaving the achievement gap stubbornly wide, despite President George W. Bush’s frequent assertions that the No Child law was having a dramatic effect.

Although Black and Hispanic elementary, middle and high school students all scored much higher on the federal test than they did three decades ago, most of those gains were not made in recent years, but during the desegregation efforts of the 1970s and 1980s. That was well before the 2001 passage of the No Child law, the official description of which is “An Act to Close the Achievement Gap.”…

The 2008 score gap between black and white 17-year-olds, 29 points in reading and 26 points in math, could be envisioned as the rough equivalent of between two and three school years’ worth of learning, said Peggy Carr, an associate commissioner for assessment at the Department of Education.

When the Obama administration brings the bill up for reauthorization this year, I’m hoping to see the hard-headed, ‘it takes a village’ kind of thinking that can provide quality education for all our children. It takes after school programs, Saturday schools, and reform of the kinds of dysfunctional educational bureaucracies that stifle innovation and drive out the best teachers. It also takes communities doing their parts; overseeing homework, unplugging the TV, staying in close contact with the kids’ teachers, policing their neighborhoods so kids can study in peace. Otherwise, the long term crisis of inner city education will continue in a world which becomes more highly technological and labor-unfriendly everyday.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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