Detroit is dying with 17 percent unemployment, and the corporate solution is more charter schools and holding teachers accountable for the crimes of corporations that have left the children in rags and their parents homeless.
Tom Loveless, a senior scholar at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, offered some cautions about making direct comparisons between the performance of individual districts on NAEP. For one, he said, the exclusion rates for English-language learners and students with disabilities differ considerably across the 18 districts.
Also, he noted that there appears to be a close relationship between the poverty rate of a district’s student population and its performance on NAEP.
In fact, the five districts with the highest NAEP reading scores for 8th graders in 2009 were also the five with the lowest student-poverty rates, as measured by free- and reduced-price lunch count, though they did not match up in rank order.
For instance, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, had the lowest poverty rate for 8th graders of all 18 participating districts, at 46 percent, and Austin’s poverty rate was tied for the second-lowest, at 54 percent.
“Just in terms of the rank ordering of the districts, it’s highly correlated with their free- and reduced lunch [counts],” Mr. Loveless said. “You have to take demographics into consideration.”