2014: It’s time for universal proficiency!

It’s 2014:  All students will be proficient in reading and math, Mike Petrilli reminds us. It’s the law!

Each State shall establish a timeline for adequate yearly progress. The timeline shall ensure that not later than 12 years after the end of the 2001–2002 school year, all students in each group described in subparagraph (C)(v) will meet or exceed the State’s proficient level of academic achievement.

– No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, section 1111(2)(F)

The next time someone talks about all students being college and career ready, a highly effective teacher in every classroom or eradicating childhood poverty, remember “universal proficiency by 2014,” Petrilli suggests.

The No Child Left Behind generation — today’s 11th graders started school after the law passed — are doing better he writes. 

NCLB kids were fourth graders in 2007:

Reading scores for the lowest-performing students and for black and Hispanic students all shot up four points (almost half a grade) over 2002’s baseline and math scores went up a whopping five points for all students, for white students, and for Hispanic students over a 2003 baseline, and black scores rocketed an incredible six points.

And in 2011, as eighth graders:

Reading scores for the lowest-performing students and for black students shot up four points over 2007’s baseline, while Hispanic students gained five points, and math scores were up three points over 2007, with Hispanic students gaining five points.

Yet just a third of the NCLB Generation had become proficient readers by the eighth grade. For Blacks and Hispanics, it was 15 and 19 percent, respectively. The results for mathematics were just a few points higher.

Still, these incremental gains add up to about half a year of extra learning, on average, writes Petrilli. That’s not enough, but it’s something.

Next time around, the goals should be high but achievable, writes Petrilli. For example, in the next six years, let’s try to get the national average to the level already achieved by Massachusetts students.

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  1. “For example, in the next six years, let’s try to get the national average to the level already achieved by Massachusetts students.”

    How about instead we stop trying to come up with a “one size fits all strategy” and address the different populations and problems school districts have. Abolish the Federal dept of Education and return control to the parents.

  2. Absolutely. The bottom group will never be proficient at any level above breathing, the next group will never be proficient at any academic level above k-5 level, the next group should be proficient at the level formerly demanded of HS entrants or a general-HS diploma level. Above that should be various vocational certifications, college prep and honors/AP college prep.All levels will naturally vary according to individual school populations, but schools should be encouraged (where geographically possible and feasible) to join with nearby schools to offer the most options possible.

  3. Bwhahaha,

    As I recall, Goals 2000 promised that the U.S. would be first in math and science by the year 2000, per the clinton adminstration. When Goals 2000 was defunded and replaced by NCLB, it had FAILED to achieve a SINGLE stated goal (there were about 13-15 of them).

    NCLB is a recipe for failure on the EPIC scale

  4. Roger Sweeny says:

    Which suggests that NCLB (along with Goals 2000) is not just optimistic but wildly optimistic. I see no reason to believe that the next big thing, Common Core, is going to be any more successful.

    I really wish we could be honest in this business.