The highest-achieving students are doing better and the lowest are doing worse than a decade ago. That’s one depressing revelation from the latest Nation’s Report Card that details how America’s union-run public schools are flunking.
The results from the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is administered to students around the country every two years, were published on Wednesday. There isn’t much to cheer. Only 35% of fourth graders rated proficient in reading, which is about the same as in 2009. Worse, students have backslid in reading over the last two years.
While median math and reading scores have stayed about the same over the last decade, achievement gaps are increasing. Since 2009 scores for the lowest 10% of students fell by about as much as they improved for the top 10%. The 90th percentile of eighth graders in math scored about four points higher while the bottom tenth scored five points lower.
The teachers unions’ answer to every education deficit is more spending. But between 2012 and 2017—the last year of available Census Bureau data—average per-pupil education spending increased by 15%. Spending has been growing at an even faster clip over the last couple of years as government revenue has recovered from the recession.
States that are spending more haven’t shown improvement. In California annual K-12 spending has increased by more than half since 2013 to $102 billion. Yet student test scores have been flat since 2013. It’s a similar story in New York, Illinois and New Jersey where Democrats have raised taxes for schools.