In February, 2023 Bari Weiss produced a podcast, “Why 65% of Fourth Graders Can’t Really Read” and Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist, wrote “Two-Thirds of Kids Struggle to Read, and We Know How to Fix It.” Both headlines are misleading. The 65% and two-thirds figures are referring to the percentage of 4th graders who scored below proficient on the last reading test of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), administered in 2022.
The problem is this: scoring below proficient doesn’t mean “can’t really read” or “struggling to read.” It also does not mean “functionally illiterate” or identify “non- readers” as some of the more vituperative descriptions on social media have claimed. It doesn’t even mean “below grade level in reading,” one of the milder distortions.
Both press reports were second-hand accountings of Emily Hanford’s series, Sold a Story. Hanford immediately took to Twitter to try to clear up the matter.
But what about the percent below basic? How do they fare, Tom? And when we go periods of time when we fail to make progress in further reducing the percent below basic we are harming these children and putting their prospects at risk, no? @arotherham @1in5advocacy @CharlesBarone
— Sandy Kress (@Kress_Sandy) June 12, 2023
“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”
The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”
My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results
2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results
Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results
Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.
When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?