Is the Education Status Quo a Success?

Former Gov Ed Rendell was in town today to defend the status quo in education, claiming that more spending has produced great improvements in performance.  Is he looking at the same test results I am? 

Based on The 2011 Nation’s Report Card:

  • Pennsylvania 8th grade students declined from 2009 results on the NAEP, and average scores have hardly changed since 2002. More than 60 percent of 8th grade students are not proficient in either reading or math.
  • There remains a wide racial and income gap in performance. For example, on the 8th grade math exam, White students are five times more likely to score proficient than Black students.
  • Overall, average scores in Pennsylvania were above the national average, but this is entirely explained by demographics. In fact, average scores for Black and Hispanic students were worse in Pennsylvania than the national average—Pennsylvania simply has a smaller percentage of minority and low-income students than many other states.
  • The state test, the PSSA, continues to inflate the number of students proficient at grade level, compared to the NAEP.


For more see our prior summary of Pennsylvania on the Nation’s Report Card.

Worse yet, these depressing results are statewide totals.  Students in the worst performing schools are far less likely to achieve at grade level.  In fact, in Philadelphia (2009 NAEP data), 80 percent of 8th students weren’t reading or doing math at grade level.