Author: Michael Holzman

Well-Educated Black Parents Equal Brighter Futures

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress periodically measures literacy skills at grades four, eight, and 12. The results are reported at four levels: At Basic and…

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress periodically measures literacy skills at grades four, eight, and 12. The results are reported at four levels: At Basic and below Basic; at Proficient and at Advanced for each grade level. As reading is the basis for all other education, and as by grade eight schooling has had ample time to be effective, grade eight reading proficiency can be taken as a good indicator of the quality of education available to students. The quality of the data made available by NAEP allows us to identify those factors most significant in determining whether a child will grow up in the virtuous circle of good educational opportunities and class mobility, or the vicious circle of poor educational opportunities and caste sedimentation.

wpid10020-wpid-this_is_dropout_nation_logo2In 1992, nine percent of black students in grade eight read at the Proficient level and for all practical purposes no black students read at the Advanced level. Twenty-one years later, in 2013, 16 percent of black students read at the Proficient level in grade eight and one percent read at the Advanced level. Although the percentage of black students reading a grade level or above in grade eight has doubled, 83 percent of African American students still read below the level expected at grade eight. According to U.S. Department of Education data for the 2011-12 school year, the most recent available, there were 586,231 black students and in eighth grade. Therefore, there were nearly half a million black students reading below grade level and almost exactly 100,000 black students reading at or above grade level in grade eight, which is one-third the number that would be expected if Black students had equal educational opportunities to those afforded white students.

NAEP allows further refinements in analysis. We can, for example, look at results within race by income, parental education and school location. By doing so we can examine the crucial variables that influence the disparate learning outcomes just outlined. What becomes clear in the analysis is that while there are correlations between income and achievement, there are even stronger correlations between how well black parents are educated as well as where their kids attend school, and the achievement of black children.

First , let’s look at the correlation between family income and student achievement. NAEP uses eligibility for National Lunch Programs (free and reduced cost meals) as an income indicator. The cut-off between those eligible for National Lunch Programs and those less poor families that are ineligible is about $35,000, which happens to be the median income for Black families. While 28 percent of black students who are less impoverished are now reading at grade level, nearly 90 percent of black students from poorer families are not able to do so, and the gap between the two is widening.

There are approximately 250,000 black students in grade eight eligible for National Lunch Programs, 33,000 of whom are reading at or above grade level. Of the approximately 334,000 black eighth grade students ineligible for National Lunch Programs, 94,000 are reading at grade level. Other things being equal, National Lunch Program eligibility appears to account for a difference of 15 percentage points for black students in grade eight reading. Reading achievement at grade level in grade eight appears to be correlated with family income, but as I have established, there are clearly other factors in play.

NAEP reports parental education as “Did not finish high school,” “Graduated high school,” “Some education after high school” or “Graduated College.” Black students who told NAEP that their parents did not finish high school scored at Proficient or above 8 percent of the time in 2013. Black students who reported that their parents who had graduated from high school were at or above grade level 9 percent of the time in 2013. For black students who said that their parents had some education after high school, 21 percent were at Proficient or above in 2013. The black children of college graduates were at or above grade level 22 percent of the time.

Looking just at reported parental education, the difference between scores of students reporting parents as having educational attainment at the “no high school diploma” level and those reporting parents as having educational attainment at the “college degree” level is 14 percentage points for black students in grade eight reading. The effect of increasing parental education for black students is approximately the same as that for higher family income. Increasing parental education from the lowest to the highest category triples the percentage reading at or above grade level for black students.

We can look at this another way by calculating the numbers of students reading at grade level (Proficient and above) with parents at various educational attainment levels, that is, the percentage of students at a given combination of reading proficiency and parental education. Seventeen percent of black adults over 25 years reported to the Census that they had less than a high school diploma, equivalent to NAEP’s “Did not finish high school.” [A caution: the numbers of adults in these categories, as reported by their children, are not necessarily the same as those self-reported to the Census or those that might be obtained from school and college records.] Thirty-one percent of African Americans said that they were high graduates with a diploma or GED, equivalent to NAEP’s “Graduated high school.” Thirty-three percent of African Americans reported some college or associate’s degree, equivalent to “Some education after high school” and 19 percent of African Americans reported attaining a bachelor’s degree or higher: “Graduated College.”

Since 8 percent of grade eight black students reporting parents with no diploma read at grade level or above, and 17 percent of black adults report that they did not graduate from high school, we can estimate that just one percent of grade eight black students read at grade level in spite of having parents who did not finish high school. Three percent of black students report that their parents completed high school while they themselves read at grade level. Seven percent of black students read at grade level in grade eight and have parents who had some college. And four percent of black students at grade eight read at grade level and report that their parents have a college degree. [The percentage of black students at grade eight reading at grade level who are the children of college graduates is lower than that of those whose parents have “some college” because there are fewer adult black college graduates.]

Cross-tabulating parental education and National Lunch Program eligibility, we find that for black students whose parents did not graduate from high school there is no difference in the low percentage of students scoring at or above Proficient, each is 7 percent. On the other hand, black students whose parents graduated from college have great differences in reading proficiency at grade eight related to family income. Fifteen percent of those eligible for National Lunch Programs (in itself nearly double the level of those whose parents did not complete high school) and 32 percent of those ineligible, read at the Proficient or above levels. This compares to 17 percent for all black students in grade eight. The effect of increases in the family income category at each additional level of parental education are particularly strong at high school and college completion.

NAEP data also allows us to test for school location effects: city, suburban, town and rural. City and suburban locations appear to be the effective variables. Fourteen percent of black students in city schools in 2013 scored at the Proficient or above levels, while 20 percent of those in suburban schools did so, nearly a fifty percent advantage for black suburban students. Moving from city to suburban schools increases the percentage of students at or above grade level for black students by nearly 50 percent.

Cross-tabulating school location and National Lunch Program eligibility, we find that 1one percent of black students in city schools who were eligible for National Lunch Programs in 2013 scored at the Proficient or above levels, as did 25 percent of those from more prosperous families who were ineligible. Fifteen percent of black students in suburban schools who were eligible for National Lunch Programs in 2013 scored at the Proficient or above levels, as did 30 percent of those who were ineligible. The percentages of black students scoring Proficient or above in grade eight reading in suburban schools, for both eligible and ineligible students, were double those in city schools.

Finally, cross-tabulating school location by parental education, we find that for black students, of those attending city schools whose parents had not graduated from high school, 7 percent were proficient and above as were just 5 percent of those in suburban schools whose parents had not graduated from high school. Of those black students whose parents had obtained a high school diploma, the percent Proficient or above was an identical 9 percent in city and suburban schools.

But for black students the advantages of attending suburban schools is clear for those whose parents had some college (from 18 percent city to 24 percent suburban) as well as for those whose parents graduated from college (17 percent and 25 percent). This effect is more apparent when we look at the change in percentages scoring at or above Proficient as a percentage of the percentage for students in city schools. The advantage for black students whose parents had some college is 33 percent and for those whose parents graduated from college 47 percent.

Twenty percent of black students, without regard to family income or parental education attainment, attending schools in the suburbs, as compared to 14 percent in city schools, read at or above grade level. Twenty-two percent of black eighth graders whose parents had completed college were at least proficient readers as compared to 8 percent of those whose parents had not completed high school. And 30 percent of black students ineligible for national lunch programs, that is, with family incomes over $35,000, and who attended suburban schools, were at least proficient readers, as compared to 11 percent of black students eligible for national lunch programs who attended city schools.

As $35,000 is approximately the median income of black families, the difference in educational outcomes is most likely an artifact of the difference in the quality of schools between urban and suburban systems.

 

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Our HS Grads Aren’t Ready

The just-released National Assessment of Educational Progress report on 12th grade performance in reading and mathematics shows no progress from 2009 and in some cases a decline since 1992. Which…

The just-released National Assessment of Educational Progress report on 12th grade performance in reading and mathematics shows no progress from 2009 and in some cases a decline since 1992. Which means far too many of our students are not being prepared for success in higher education and in life.

wpid10020-wpid-this_is_dropout_nation_logo2First, a word about NAEP’s Grade 12 exam. Some people believe that high school seniors don’t try to do well on these tests, as they do not count for graduation and high school seniors have other things on their minds. That may be true, but relative performance between racial and ethnic groups or between students whose parents are highly educated and those whose parents did not complete high school would not, on the face of it, be affected by proms and other high school senior pastimes.

More importantly, high school seniors are, by definition, the group of students who did not leave school before reaching that grade and, very likely, the group of students who will in fact receive diplomas. Of the black students in eighth grade in the 2007-2008 school year, 83 percent were in grade 12 for the 2011-2012 school year. Similarly, of the white students in grade 8 in 2007-2009, 90 percent were in grade 12 for 2011-2012. In other words, NAEP tests grade 12 students who are most probably better at school work than many of those tested in grades 4 and 8.

That said, what did NAEP find? Looking just at reading, nationally, scores were unchanged from the most recent prior assessment in 2009 and have decreased from the first round of testing in 1992. Twenty-one years with no progress.

While white scores in reading were the same in 2013 as in 1992, Black scores have declined. The white-black achievement gap, then, has increased by 25 percent over the past 21 years. Twenty-one years with no progress.

The actual level reached was not bad for white and Asian students. Forty-seven percent of these groups were at the Proficient or above levels. Students who were the children of college graduates did slightly better: Forty-nine percent of these middle class students were at least Proficient readers by their senior year in high school. On the other hand, only 23 percent of Latino seniors and just 16 percent of Black seniors could read at the Proficient or above levels. While half of Asian and white high school seniors have been prepared by their schools for college and careers, the schools of three-quarters of Latino students and 84 percent of black students have failed to prepare them for college or intellectually demanding careers. They have prepared them for unemployment and incarceration.

The scores of black high school seniors whose parents completed college are the same as those of white students whose parents did not complete high school. While the scores of all students increased with increasing levels of parental education, the scores of black students increased the least. This is particularly troubling, as the transmission of cultural capital, such as education levels, from one generation to the next is vital for socio-economic mobility.

There is some good news in the report. Connecticut has taught all its students to read at higher than average levels for the nation and has narrowed the White-Black gap. Twenty-six percent of black students in the state read at the Proficient or above levels, as compared to the national average of 16 percent (and Tennessee’s abysmal 12 percent). As there is no reason to believe that black students in Connecticut are profoundly different from black students nationally (or in Tennessee), perhaps the difference is in the quality of schools available to black students in that state, in spite of the fact that its schools are highly segregated as an artifact of the state’s geographical socio-economic segregation. Bad schools in Connecticut are better than good schools elsewhere.

Of course it would be better if black students in Connecticut were allowed to attend good Connecticut schools, even if they do not happen to live in Darien or Westport. Unfortunately, as mothers and grandmothers such as Tanya McDowell and Marie Menard have learned the hard way, that is illegal.

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Inequality, Thy Name is New York

Give credit where it is due. The New York City Department of Education has a strong record of maintaining and increasing inequality. Eighty percent of black and Latino students and…

Give credit where it is due. The New York City Department of Education has a strong record of maintaining and increasing inequality. Eighty percent of black and Latino students and all those eligible for free or reduced price lunch programs, read at the basic or below basic levels of proficiency, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Only 20 percent of black and Latino eighth-graders are at grade level or above, as compared to 40 percent or more of students from more prosperous homes as well as White, non-Hispanic and Asian students. Nearly 90 percent of black and Latino eighth-grade young men eligible for free or reduced price lunch programs read below grade level at grade 8, while most White non-Hispanic peers from more prosperous home read at or above grade level.

wpid10020-wpid-this_is_dropout_nation_logo2Out of school suspensions make it less likely that a student will graduate. In New York City, young black men 10 times as likely to be suspended as white students, while Latino male students are six times more likely to be suspended from school than whites. Expulsions of black students are nearly twice as disproportionate.

Given that record in teaching something as basic as reading, and the great disparities in “discipline,” it is no surprise that despite having one of the larger per student expenditures among major urban districts, just over a third of New York City’s young black men – the students most-vulnerable to educational failure – graduate from high school in four years.

The Department of Education diverts resources from students living in the city’s poorer neighborhoods to those living in the city’s richer neighborhoods. One way this is done is through its gifted and talented programs. Students in these programs have greater resources devoted to their educations than other students. But they can only get into those programs by passing a test given in the early grades.

In Manhattan’s prosperous District 2, six percent of students, k-3, were deemed qualified this year for admission to city-wide gifted and talented programs: the brass ring. The runner-up was District 3, also in Manhattan, also at six percent. The three districts with the lowest percentages of students qualifying for admission to city-wide gifted and talented programs were 7 and 9 in the Bronx and 23 in Brooklyn, whose populations are nearly all black and Latino with free and reduced price lunch program enrollments of between 80 percent and 90 percent. Together, these districts only designated 25 children –or less than one tenth of one percent of its students – as gifted and talented as compared to the 698 students in District 2 alone.

There are about 60,000 students in districts 7, 9 and 23, of whom twenty-five are gifted, according to the New York City Department of Education.

At the other end of the k-12 pipeline the city provides the highest quality high school educations overwhelmingly to white and Asian students alone. The New York City Department of Education’s specialized high schools — including Stuyvesant and Bronx High School of Science –are gatekeepers for elite colleges, upper middle class careers, and the reproduction of class status. They have world-class facilities, teachers and curriculum. They have close to 100 percent graduation rates and college admission success.

Students are admitted to these schools by their scores on a test taken in grade 8. It is basically a mathematics test. For context, 18 percent of New York City’s white, non-Hispanic, students scored at the Advanced level in 2013 on NAEP’s grade 8 mathematics test, as did 26 percent of the Asian students. Just one percent each of the city’s black and Latino students did so. If nearly all of New York City’s black students are not performing at Advanced levels in eighth-grade math, they have no chance of gaining admission to Stuyvesant or Bronx Science.

It is generally acknowledged that the test for admission to the specialized high schools cannot be passed simply by taking courses in the New York City schools. Tutorials are necessary. Kaplan, Inc., among others, offers tutorials for the test. They charge $5,000 for their premium model. The median income of Black families, female householder, no husband present, in New York City is $36,000. A Kaplan “Premier Tutoring” course would cost a Black woman raising her children without a husband present, 14 percent of her annual income.

The result? This year Stuyvesant admitted 952 students: 680 are Asian/Pacific Islander; 164 are White, non-Hispanic; 79 are “Unknown”; 21 are Hispanic and 7 are Black. It is not known how many of those seven Black students are African-American students of the New York public schools. They could all have been privately schooled children of African diplomats.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics median earnings for people with professional degrees are nearly four times those of people without high school diplomas and nearly three times those of people with just a high school diploma. Men, especially Black men, without high school diplomas are likely to spend time in prison. Their families are more likely than others to live in poverty and their children in cities like New York are likely to follow the same path: inadequate basic skills, high out-of-school suspension rates, failure to graduate from high school.

In this way, New York City’s traditional school district currently maintains and increases inequality. How could it do more to make New York more inequitable? Let’s not ponder the ways.

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America’s Problem-Solving Gap

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a program of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that documents the performance of students in dozens of countries.  PISA has…

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a program of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that documents the performance of students in dozens of countries.  PISA has just released the results of the 2012 assessment.  The headline in major media outlets is that “U.S. 15-year-olds Perform Above OECD Average in Problem Solving.”

Twelve percent of U.S. students were “top performers,” scoring at levels 5 and 6, which was similar to the OECD average.  Eighteen percent were “low performers,” scoring at level 1 or below level 1.  This was better than the OECD average of 21 percent “low performers.”

Yet the report highlights the extraordinary lack of equity in the American educational system. For all the debate over whether there is too much focus on all children receiving college preparatory learning, the reality remains that our black, Latino, and low-income children aren’t being provided any of it.

While, on average, 18 percent of U.S. 15-year-olds were “low performers” and 12 percent were “high performers,” students attending schools where the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch was 75 percent or more had much different outcomes. These schools managed to educate their students to the “high performing” level in problem solving only 4 percent of the time, and left their students at the “low performing” level 34 percent of the time.

Because of America’s unusual school funding system, based on local property taxes, schools attended by students living in poverty are less well-funded than those attended by students from better off families.  It is not surprising that student attending poorly- funded schools do less well than those attending well-funded schools.

The PISA report also documents racial and ethnic disparities in student performance.  White students scored at the “high performing” level 16 percent of the time.  Black students scored at the “high performing” level 1 percent of the time.  Hispanic students scored at the “high performing” level 6 percent, while Asian students scored at “high performing” levels 28 percent of the time. At the “low performing” end of the scale for U.S. 15-year-olds we find 10 percent of White students and 44 percent of Black students (along with 23 percent of Hispanic and 5 percent of Asian students).

The problem solving performance of American black 15-year-olds is similar to (but slightly better than) that of 15-year-olds from Middle Eastern (including Israel), Latin American and Balkan countries, worse than those of students in countries that make important investments in education, such as those in the European Union. Black students are much more likely to attend schools in poor neighborhoods than other students.  As a result they are much more likely to attend schools that are poorly-resourced. The lesson is clear:  internationally and within the United States, student performance varies with educational resources.

The consequences are not surprising.  Tragic, but not surprising.

 

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Segregation by Another Name: NYC Edition

The New York City Department of Education runs eight specialized high schools. These are not vocational schools offering job training. They are the gate keepers for privileged preparation for elite…

The New York City Department of Education runs eight specialized high schools. These are not vocational schools offering job training. They are the gate keepers for privileged preparation for elite colleges, upper middle class careers, the perpetuation of class status. They have world-class facilities, teachers and curriculum. They have high graduation rates and close to 100 percent college admission success.  The best known of these high schools are the Bronx High School of Science and Stuyvesant High School. Students are admitted to these schools by their scores on a test taken in grade 8.  The test is basically a mathematics test.

This year, Bronx Science admitted 968 new students. Of them, 557 were Asian/Pacific Islander; 252 were White, non-Hispanic; 89 were “Unknown”; 50 were Latino and 18 were black. Stuyvesant admitted 952 students. Six hundred eighty of the students were Asian, while another 164 were white; of the rest, 79 were “Unknown”, 21 were Latino, and seven were black. Bronx High School of Science admitted two American Indian students and Stuyvesant admitted just one.

Fifth-eight percent of Bronx Science’s admissions were Asian students as were nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of entering Stuyvesant students.  Twenty-six percent of Bronx Science’s admissions were white, as were 17 percent of Stuyvesant’s admitted students. Black enrollments amounted to two percent of Bronx Science’s and one percent of Stuyvesant’s entering class; Latinos made up 5 percent and 2 percent of Bronx Science’s and Stuyvesant’s admitted students

Asians and whites, however, do not make up four-fifth’s of New York City’s school population. They only make up 40 percent of the city’s high school students. Latinos and blacks, on the other hand, make up 30 percent and 27 percent of the Big Apple’s high school students.

Here’s a math test:  What is the likelihood, other things being equal, that a group making up 27 percent of the total high school students in the city would represent only one percent in the city’s best high school? Perhaps other things are not equal.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) measures student achievement for grade 8 Mathematics. Eighteen percent of New York City’s white students scored at the Advanced level in 2013, as did 26 percent of the Asian students. Only one percent of the city’s black and Latino eighth-graders scored at Advanced levels. If 99 percent of black eighth-graders are not performing math at advanced levels, the odds are slim that they will pass the admissions test for Stuyvesant and other selective schools.

The Big Apple is doing poorly in teaching math to black and Latino children.

There is an additional barrier.  It is generally acknowledged, even by the city, that the test virtually requires extra-curricular instruction. Fortunately, private enterprise has risen to the challenge.  Kaplan, Inc., a $2.2 billion company owned by Graham Holdings (the Graham family used to own the Washington Post), offers test preparation for the test. It offers “Premier Tutoring” at three price points: 16 hours, 24 hours and 32 hours.  The 32-hour package costs $5,000 (payable in three installments). For this fee students receive (according to the Kaplan website), “proven, score raising strategies to help maximize . . . points on Test Day.” That might seem like a lot of money to pay for a test taken by an eighth grader, but it is very inexpensive when you consider that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics median earnings for people with professional degrees are nearly four times those of people without high school diplomas and nearly three times those of people with just a high school diploma. Other things being equal.

The median income of white families in New York City is $76,000; that of black families $48,000; that of Latino families $37,000; black households with single mothers only earn $36,000 in median income. While a Kaplan “Premier Tutoring” course would cost the White family seven percent of their annual income, it would cost a black woman raising her children without a husband present 14 percent of her annual income. That’s if she had $5,000 to spare. And how likely is that?

Okay, what can be done? Starting now, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Fariña should offer “Premier”-quality tutoring for the test, free of charge, to all New York City students. The city should then immediately overhaul math instruction in its schools, especially those serving primarily black and Latino children.

But keep this in mind: New York City’s specialized high school problem are a particularly clear example of how gifted-and-talented programs are segregation by another name. What is happening in the Big Apple illustrates how American educational institutions limit opportunities for Black and Latino children by barring them from the commanding heights of the education system and thus from the opportunity for careers that might lead them out of the poverty cycle. How long must this continue before action is taken to bring democracy to America?

Photo courtesy of the Daily News.

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Carmen Fariña’s Eighth-Grade Challenge

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new chancellor, Carmen Fariña, has gone on record saying that she would prefer retirement to leading the nation’s largest traditional district. But she…

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new chancellor, Carmen Fariña, has gone on record saying that she would prefer retirement to leading the nation’s largest traditional district. But she has accepted responsibility for running the institution that, along with the criminal justice system and the economic system, one of the Big Apple’s three pillars of inequality. And she has a lot to do.

wpid10020-wpid-this_is_dropout_nation_logo2There isn’t much debate to be had about how de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, and his chancellors, improved achievement for the city’s fourth-graders. Graduation rates have also improved. But the real measure of district and school success lies in how well children are doing by eighth-grade. This is because by then, districts should be provided their students the preparation they need for success in high school, and ultimately, in college and career; eighth-graders reading at or above grade level will be able to do well once they graduate from high school four years later. Eighth grade achievement also matters because the teaching, curricula, and academic services districts provide can (and should) have mitigated any effects that come from as a result of families and socioeconomic background. Children who graduate from high school reading below grade level aren’t likely to succeed after leaving school.

So how well is New York City doing with its eighth-graders, especially for its black and Latino students? Based on data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the federal exam of student achievement, not well.

Three-quarters of the Big Apple’s eighth-graders read at and below Basic levels of proficiency in 2013. This means that just 25 percent of Big Apple eighth graders read at Proficient and Advanced levels, the key levels of grade level success. Between 2003 and 2013, the gap between the city’s performance and that of the national average increased by two points (from eight percentage points to 10).

Even worse, 80 percent of New York City poorest eighth-graders read at and below Basic levels in 2013. Only one out of every five impoverished eighth-graders read at Proficient and Advanced levels. Between 2003 and 2013, the Big Apple’s rate of progress for its poorest eighth graders fell behind that of the nation as a whole.

Nearly 90 percent of young black men in eighth grade attending New York City’s schools are reading at or below Basic levels of proficiency; in short, just 10 percent of young black men are reading at or above grade level. This is a situation that has not significantly improved within the past decade.

As for young Latino eighth-graders? In 2013, just 18 percent of Latino students read at proficient and advanced levels – three percentage points lower than the national average – while the remaining 82 percent read at or below Basic levels. Even worse, the one percentage point improvement in the percentage of Latinos reading at or above grade level between 2003 and 2013 is worse than the seven percentage point improvement nationwide within the last decade.

It isn’t all bad news. In 2013, 18 percent of black eighth-graders of both genders read at Proficient and Advanced levels. This is a five percentage point improvement over 2003, and better than the four percentage point improvement (from 12 percent to 16 percent) nationwide. But the city still hasn’t improved college and career success for Asian and white non-Latino eighth-graders, who often come from more economically-prosperous households.

Just 44 percent of New York City’s Asian eighth-graders read at Proficient and Advanced levels in 2013, six percentage points lower than the 50 percent rate for their peers nationwide. The percentage of Big Apple Asian eighth-graders increased by 10 percentage points between 2003 and 2013, a lower level of improvement than the 12 percentage point improvement nationwide.

Meanwhile 44 percent of white eighth-graders were reading at or above grade level in 2013, matching the national average. But a decade ago, 42 percent of white eighth-graders were reading at Proficient and Advanced levels, three percentage points greater than the 39 percent national average. The city’s two percentage point improvement was less than half the five percentage point improvement nationwide.

The challenges facing the new Chancellor are clear enough. Not enough of New York City’s children are prepared for success in college and career. The city no longer has time for happy talk about reform. We must focus our resources and energies to improve educational outcomes for all students – or else the Big Apple will remain a tale of two cities for another generation.

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