The following are excerpts from editorials in the Denver Post (7-18) and Charlotte [N.C.] Observer (7-17) commenting on the results of the long-term Nation's Report Card, released last week:
Nation's Schools Show Progress
"...America's youngsters have made noticeable gains in reading and math over the past five years, and the achievement gap between white and minority elementary-school students is tightening, according to a well-respected national study. That's great news and something to celebrate….
"The progress made by all student groups over the past six years is unprecedented in the more than 30-year history of the National Assessment of Educational Progress report, known as The Nation's Report Card. The study showed significant improvement among white, black and Hispanic 9- year-olds in reading and math, and blacks and Hispanics made greater gains than whites in both subject areas….
"It's important that today's momentum for elementary students isn't snuffed out in high school. And while we're always cautious about reading too much into one study, at least this one shows progress being made in critical areas." (Denver Post)
Closing The Gap: National Test Results Spotlight Significant Academic Gains
"It's encouraging news that black and Hispanic 9-year-olds are improving as a group on national exams that gauge academic performance. The 2004 National Assessment of Educational Progress showed gains for all student groups, but students of color made gains so significant that the traditional performance gap between student groups has narrowed dramatically. That's progress worth cheering….
"Unfortunately, the good news doesn't go all the way up the education ladder. In math, the scores of 17-year-olds of all ethnicities have remained flat for nearly 30 years. This highlights the need for better strategies in middle school and high school to maintain the progress students are making in elementary schools….
"More work is needed, but these improvements show progress is possible. We've got to redouble our efforts so no child will be left behind. Our nation's future depends on it." (Charlotte Observer)
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