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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

We’re making progress on education

High school and college completion rates have increased significantly for Hispanic students. Photo: Reed Saxon/AP

The U.S. is making “silent progress” on education, argues Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality.

She cites “genuinely good news” in the Department of Education report, The Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups.

  1. Since 1992, on the fourth grade NAEP reading assessment, the white-black score gap narrowed from 32 points to 26 points. This was not due to a drop in white scores, which went up by 8 points, but results from an even larger gain of 14 points among black students.

  2. Similarly, on the eighth grade reading NAEP, the white-Hispanic gap closed significantly from 26 to 21 points. Again, Hispanic students made larger gains than did white students (12 points compared to 7 points).

  3. Since 1990, high school completion rates for young adults have gone up for all students, but most impressively for Hispanic students, increasing from 59 to 88 percent. Black students made great gains (from 83 to 92 percent), with both groups outpacing white student gains (from 90 to 95 percent).

  4. The number of bachelor degrees earned by Hispanic students doubled since 2004. It went up 46 percent for black students.

In The Alumni, Richard Whitmire reports that charter networks such as Uncommon Schools, Achievement First, KIPP and YES Prep “are improving college graduation rates for poor kids by three to five times,” Walsh adds.

There’s plenty more to do, she writes, “but we need to acknowledge reforms that work so we can learn from, replicate, and build on the gains they produce.”

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