If you have not taken time to read our major charter school debate with UK professors Wayne Lewis and Martin Solomon, you owe it to yourself and Kentucky’s children to take some time to do so. The professors provide a good introduction into the issues of establishing charter schools in Kentucky from the viewpoint of both a strong proponent of charters and a sharp critic of these school choice options for parents.
Now that the professors have weighed in, I’m adding more to the discussion. I am currently discussing education progress in Kentucky because it came up in the debates and I think very few in Kentucky really understand what the data shows. Today we’ll look at two more examples from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) that show achievement gaps in fourth grade reading and eight grade math have been growing in Kentucky since the early days of KERA in 1990.
This first graphic shows the NAEP Grade 8 Math proficiency rates by year for whites and blacks in Kentucky. The difference in the trend in the blue line for whites and the red line for blacks is stunning.
The proficiency rate gap in math between Kentucky’s two primary racial groups has more than doubled since the NAEP began state math testing at the eighth grade level in 1990.
So, let’s hear no more misinformation about the gaps staying constant. NAEP clearly shows they have not.
Furthermore, while the eighth grade NAEP math improvement rate for whites is not terribly exceptional, the improvement rate for blacks is dismal. In 23 years, Kentucky’s black students only improved math proficiency by 9 points, a rate of improvement of 0.39 point per year. At this rate, Kentucky’s blacks won’t post a proficiency rate of 80 percent (see previous blog for why I selected 80 percent) for another 177 years!!!!
Furthermore, with a most recent NAEP proficiency rate for blacks of only 11 percent, anyone who says anything other than Kentucky has done a terrible job for these children of color needs to be very harshly corrected.