US Students Not Making the Grade in Math, Reading
A new report shows that most American fourth and eighth graders did not do well on math and reading tests. The latest so-called "Nation's Report Card" was released last week.
There were some exceptions. Students in Washington, DC, made important gains in both reading and math this year, according to the National Assessment of Education Progress. Students in the state of Mississippi also made major improvements compared to earlier reports.
Nationally, however, America's eighth graders are falling behind in math and reading. And, math scores among fourth graders also decreased.
A little more than one-third of eighth graders are proficient in reading and math. Proficient means to be skilled at doing something. About a third of fourth-graders are proficient readers. Over 40 percent are considered proficient in math.
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said the overall national results show a "student achievement crisis." She also said the problem cannot be fixed by giving more money to public schools.
Instead, she called for expanded school choice. This includes her proposals for school vouchers and greater dependence on privately run charter schools.
DeVos said last week that American children continue to fall behind students of the same grade in other countries. But she said with education freedom, American students can compete.
Scott Sargrad is with the Center for American Progress. He writes about education at the kindergarten through 12th grade levels, or K-12. Writing on Forbes.com, he said DeVos is wrong and that "money matters in education." He said the falling scores are because of lower spending on education following the Great Recession of 2008.
Sargrad added that education spending in almost half of the states have not returned to pre-recession levels.
Michael Petrilli, president of the education reform group the Thomas Fordham Institute, agrees. He says data show that scores on the test move up and down along with the country's economic situation.
教育改革组织托马斯 · 福德汉姆研究所的主席迈克尔 · 佩特里尼也同意这一观点。 他说，数据显示，考试成绩随着国家经济形势的变化而上下波动。
Sandy Kress was an education advisor to former President George W. Bush. Writing for Education Next, he said it is "most disappointing that the nation has gone nowhere in the last 10 years."
桑迪 · 克雷斯是前总统乔治 · w · 布什的教育顾问。 他说，“最令人失望的是，这个国家在过去10年里一无所成。”
The nationwide test is given to a randomly selected group of students in the fourth and eighth grades every two years.
Students made big gains in math in the 1990s and 2000s but have shown little improvement since then. Reading scores have risen a little since the tests began in 1992.
Both low- and high-performing eighth graders decreased in reading, but the decreases were generally worse for lower-performing students.
In Washington, D.C., public school leader Lewis Ferebee said the improved scores happened for a number of reasons. They include the start of free schooling for all 3- and 4-year-olds living in D.C. The program began in 2008.
在华盛顿特区，公立学校的负责人 Lewis Ferebee 说，成绩的提高有很多原因。 这些措施包括开始为所有生活在华盛顿特区的3岁和4岁儿童提供免费学校教育。 这个项目始于2008年。
Many of our students are getting a strong start in their learning, said Ferebee. He also credited Washington's effort to increase teacher pay. He says better pay permits D.C. schools "to be competitive at a time when there's a nationwide shortage of good teachers."
“我们的许多学生在他们的学习中有了一个良好的开端，”费雷比说。 他还赞扬了华盛顿增加教师工资的努力。 他说，更高的工资使得华盛顿的学校“在全国范围内缺少好老师的时候仍然具有竞争力。”
For the first time in the test's history, Mississippi fourth graders scored above the national average in math. In reading, they scored equal to the national average. The state remained behind national averages in eighth grade but continued to improve in math and stayed about the same in reading.
密西西比州四年级学生的数学成绩首次超过全国平均水平。 在阅读方面，他们的得分等于全国平均水平。 该州在八年级时仍然落后于全国平均水平，但在数学上继续提高，在阅读方面保持不变。
Carey Wright is Mississippi's State Superintendent of Education. She said the southern state has been improving early reading education and has been working to help teachers improve math instruction.
凯里 · 赖特是密西西比州的教育主管。 她说，南方州一直在改善早期阅读教育，并一直在努力帮助教师改善数学教学。
America's big-city public schools educate more poor students as well as English language learners. In general, these schools also saw some good news. Big-city schools still performed below the nation as a whole, but the difference was less than before.
美国大城市的公立学校教育更多的贫困学生和英语学习者。 总的来说，这些学校也看到了一些好消息。 大城市学校的表现仍低于全国总体水平，但差距已经比以前小了。
I'm Anne Ball.
我是安妮 · 鲍尔。
And I'm Bryan Lynn.
我是布莱恩 · 林恩。