Analyses over the years have shown, in fact, that the NAEP proficiency scales are so high that the vast majority of our high-flying international competitors, too, would fall short of proficiency if they were to be subjected to the NAEP:
When NCLB became law in 2002, however, NAEP moved to the background as more pressing AYP requirements moved front and center. Even so, NCLB fit the corporate education "reform" agenda for the past thirty years that have been characterized by increasingly-draconian testing and sanctioning measures that serve to 1) undermine public schools and to replace them with private school vouchers and corporate charter schools, 2) return the teaching of the poor to 18th Century methods based on memorization and recitation, 3) find cheap and profitable ways to contain, segregate, culturally neuter, and behaviorally modify the urban poor, 4) promote the total compliance test prep KIPP chain gangs for the poor in order to preserve the pretense that poverty is not a factor in the test score gaps, and, 5) devise technological schemes that offer marginal distant learning alternatives to the poor in both rural and urban America.
Now with new NAEP scores released, attention has returned to what the Nation's Report Card can tell us that is any different from what it has told us since 2005: NCLB/corporate education reform is not working. As with previous NAEP scores, this time it's a hard spin for the corporate education reformers, as they press their central lie that high stakes testing has improved learning while claiming that schools are still doing a pitiful job.
Notice in the charts below how improvements on NAEP have slowed since 2003, when NCLB went into effect. In 4th and 8th grade math, 6-point gains since 2003:
“The modest increases in NAEP scores are reason for concern as much as optimism,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a statement. “It’s clear that achievement is not accelerating fast enough for our nation’s children to compete in the knowledge economy of the 21st Century.”So what is the source of Arne's optimism? Could Duncan be referring to the fact that NAEP scores didn't go down!
And what about the test score gaps?
The NAEP scores also highlight achievement gaps for minority and low-income students, which have been slow to narrow.
There was no change in the black-white achievement gap in either reading or math between 2009 and 2011, although there was a small improvement in the Hispanic-white gap for both eighth-grade reading (where the 22-point gap was two points smaller than in 2009) and eighth-grade math (where the gap narrowed three points, to 23).