Commentary: Large Racial Reading and Math Performance Gaps Persist as Children Age

The dominant response to the recently-released NAEP Report Card on 4th and 8th grade proficiency scores has been to focus on the adverse effects of school closures: declining competencies, particularly for the lowest performing students. What is buried in the report is the continued alarmingly low black student scores on both reading and math sections and their inability to close the racial gap as they move from the 4th to 8th grade.

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Florida Hispanic Students Rank First Nationwide in Reading

Florida’s highest-ever 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress rankings indicate that the state’s students are “well ahead of their peers, especially with younger and educationally at-risk students who were harmed the most from distance learning in other states,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said when announcing the ranking. 

“We insisted on keeping schools open and guaranteed in-person learning in 2020 because we knew there would be widespread harm to our students if students were locked out,” he said, adding that the results “once again prove that we made the right decision.” 

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Analysis Shows Some Tennessee Students Lost Months of Learning Between 2019 and 2022

A new analysis of data from the Nation’s Report Card shows that Tennessee students lost, on average, what equals five months of math learning between 2019 and 2022 while the state’s students lost four months of reading learning.

The Education Recovery Scorecard, from researchers at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University and Stanford University’s Educational Opportunity Project, includes interactive district-level learning loss information from across the state of Tennessee and the country.

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Ohio Scores Fall in Math, Reading for Both Fourth Graders, Eighth Graders

Ohio recorded three-year decreases in scoring across the board for fourth graders and eighth graders in math and reading, respectively, according to a national study released this week.

The Nation’s Report Card, a product of the National Assessment of Educational Progress which began producing the report in 1969, cited an overall trend of decline in the United States. It comes in the COVID-19 era, when schools were closed by governments and students scrambled to learn remotely or get back into classrooms.

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Biden Education Secretary Miguel Cardona Blames Abysmal U.S. Student National Test Scores on Trump

The Biden education department announced Thursday that U.S. students’ plummeting scores in reading and math during the COVID-19 pandemic is all due to former President Donald Trump.

“Today’s data confirm the significant impact the prior Administration’s mismanagement of the pandemic has had on our children’s progress and academic wellbeing,” said Biden Education Secretary Miguel Cardona Thursday, following the report that U.S. students showed their steepest decline in decades in math and reading scores during the COVID school shutdowns.

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Metro Nashville Public School District 8 Candidate Amy Pate Wants to Bring Back the ABCs of Learning

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Metro Nashville Public School District Four candidate Amy Pate in studio to discuss growing up as a Nashville native and her mission to reinstate the ABCs of learning.

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All-Star Panelist Roger Simon: ‘The Fact That the ACLU Is on a Fishing Expedition Against Hillsdale College Is a Sign of the Decline of the ACLU’

Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Roger Simon in studio to weigh in on ACLU open records request and the abomination of education.

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Tennessee Textbook Commission Member Laurie Cardoza-Moore Discusses Tennessee Department of Education Progressive New Hire Rachael Maves

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Tennessee Textbook and Instruction Materials Quality Commission member Laurie Cardoza-Moore to the newsmakers line to discuss the hiring of progressive Rachael Maves to the DOE.

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Wisconsin State Superintendent Not Fan of Reading Readiness Push

The Evers Administration will not support the Republican-backed push aiming to ensure sure younger kids are ready to read before the third grade.

State School Superintendent Jill Underly last week wrote an op-ed that dismisses the new reading readiness proposal from Wisconsin’s Republican lawmakers as simply more testing.

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Report Card Measuring U.S. Grades in Education Shows ‘Concerning’ Results

For the first time in nearly 50 years, the National Assessment of Educational Progress results showed that the reading and mathematics scores of 13-year-old students fell from 2012 to 2020.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results showed no change in the scores of 9-year-old students since 2012, according to the assessment, also known as The Nation’s Report Card. Among lower-performing students, scores declined in both the 9 and 13-year-old groups in both reading and mathematics.

“This was the first time in the almost 50-year history of the long-term trend assessments that we observed declines among 13-year-olds,” said National Center for Education Statistics Commissioner Peggy G. Carr in a press release. “These performance drops are especially notable among lower-performing students, who no longer demonstrate competency in skills that students were able to do almost a decade ago in both subjects and age groups.”

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Michigan Reading Scholarship Advocates Lament ‘Anti-Voucher’ Rhetoric Used Against Vetoed Program

When Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) line-item vetoed a $155 million program for K-5 reading scholarships in the $17 billion school budget she signed earlier this month, teachers’ unions and other school choice opponents likened the scholarships to vouchers. 

Many proponents of the scholarship expenditure are responding that while they would welcome broader choice-oriented education reform, a plain reading of the program does not jibe with unions’ and school administrators stated concerns about impact on public education.

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Utah House Passes Bill to Ban Critical Race Theory in Public Schools

Students in class, listening to the teacher at the front of the room

Utah is one of many states in America considering banning critical race theory in public schools.

Republican State Representative Steve Christiansen sponsored a bill that takes direct aim at critical race theory concepts being taught in public education. The bill passed the Utah House and is awaiting the signature of the Speaker to move onto the state Senate.

That bill, HR901, calls on the Utah Board of Education for a re-evaluation of guidelines to weed out critical race theory in publicly funded classrooms.

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Minnesota Professor Objects to Classic Children’s Books Because They Don’t Address Climate Change

Book "Stories of Adventure"

A Minnesota professor recently debated in an editorial published by The New York Times whether it is “fair” to read his daughter classic children’s books because they are set in a natural world that is now “vanishing.”

Paul Bogard, an associate professor of English at Hamline University in St. Paul, wrote in a recent opinion piece, “The wild world my favorite books had encouraged me to love has been under assault.”

The books he refers to are “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Swimmy,” “The Story of Babar,” “A Snowy Day,” and “Make Way for Ducklings.”

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Tennessee State Representative Susan Lynn Outlines Educational Priorities for the General Assembly’s Special Session

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed TN (R) Representative Susan Lynn to the studio to discuss the upcoming special session in the General Assembly and its focus on education.

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$20 Million Literacy Program Endorsed by Common Core Set to be Implemented in Tennessee before 2021 legislative session

Tennessee House Republicans have said childhood literacy is a top priority for 2021, but one literacy initiative endorsed by a drafter of Common Core standards and designed to encourage 40 school districts to comply with state standards is on track to be implemented before lawmakers return to Nashville.

The Tennessee Department of Education’s (TDOE) Comprehensive Literacy State Development program is designed to raise literacy achievement in 40 lower performing school districts.

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Thales Academy-Franklin Principal Rachael Bradley Discusses the June 9 Parent Meeting and How the School Teaches Reading Instruction

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Principal Rachael Bradley of Thales Academy of Franklin to the newsmakers line.

During the second hour, Leahy and Bradley discussed the upcoming Thales Academy-Franklin event on June ninth at 6:30 p.m. and how Thales will teach reading to their students.

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Commentary: Changing the Trajectory

Our economy goes hand in hand with quality education. A strong educational system is essential not only to the successful functioning of a democracy, but also to its very future.

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