June 26, 2017

AmericanEnglishDoctor.com is the work of M. J. Maddox, PhD. The content is for parents, teachers, and mature students.

Dr. Maddox writes about School Reform at the online magazine Bellaonline.

Together, But Unequal

Elizabeth Eckford entering Little Rock Central High School in 1957.

Elizabeth Eckford entering Little Rock Central High School in 1957.

In the bad old days of racially segregated schools, the watchword was “separate but equal.” The political fiction was that public schools for black students were the equivalent of public schools for white students. They weren’t.

Today’s political fiction is that integrated schools provide the same education for all the students who attend them. They don’t.

National reading scores on the NAEP tell the story.


NOTE: Sometimes called “the nation’s report card,” the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the largest continuing and nationally representative assessment of what American students know and can do in various subjects. The first NAEP was administered in 1969.


NAEP Fourth-grade scores 2015

Twenty-first century results of equal education. The chart shows the percentage of fourth-graders who scored at proficiency or above in the years indicated.

Main NAEP assessments are conducted in a range of subjects with fourth-, eighth- and twelfth-graders across the country. Reading assessment statistics indicate just how “equal” is the education received by twenty-first-century children in our all-inclusive public schools.

The NAEP reading assessment results are categorized at three levels:

Basic = The child is reading below grade level.
Proficient = The child is reading at grade level.
Advanced = The child is reading above grade level.

The most recent scores (2015) are no different for Grade 4 than they were in 2013 when 66% of all U.S. fourth-graders scored “below proficient” and 80% of fourth-graders from low-income backgrounds scored below grade level.

The breakdown according to race shows the following percentages of American fourth-graders who were reading at grade level in 2013 and 2015:

White: 46%
Black: 18%
Hispanic: 21%
Asian: 57%

That leaves 54% of white fourth-graders, 82% of black fourth-graders, 79% of Hispanic fourth-graders, and 43% of Asian fourth-graders who will find school harder and harder as the years pass. Twenty-five percent of them will drop out as soon as they are old enough. Of the ones who stick it out to graduate from high school, 63% will still be reading at less than a high school level.

How can anyone be surprised by the outrageous behavior reported daily in the news media when perhaps as much as 50% of the population is semi-literate?

If you are a parent or grandparent of preschoolers, you need to make every effort to send them to school with large vocabularies and knowledge of the sounds and letters of the alphabet. Children who begin school without this information and who do not acquire it by the end of the first grade will never catch up.

Explore the pages of the American English Doctor for tips about how to protect your child from school reading failure.