Even if NAEP “proficient” is a lofty goal, it illustrates the shortcomings of Kansas public schools, especially for minority students.
“Game on for Kansas Schools,” a Facebook page, seeks to draw attention away from the performance of students in Kansas schools. In a post, it make the case that the standard of “proficient” on the National Assessment of Educational Progress is an unreasonably high expectation.1
We can easily understand why GOFKS needs to make excuses. As can be seen in the nearby chart of NAEP scores for Kansas and national public schools for fourth grade reading, the Kansas public school establishment doesn’t have much to be proud of.
More troubling than the absolute level of achievement is the gap in achievement between white students and minority students. For Kansas white students, 42 percent are proficient in reading at grade 4. For Kansas black students, only 15 percent are proficient, and 20 percent of Kansas Hispanic students. Similar gaps appear in reading at grade 8, and in math at grades 4 and 8.
So even if “proficient” is an unrealistically high standard of performance, it still illustrates a gap.
But if you’re not convinced that Kansas public schools are harmful to minority students, use performance at the “basic” level. Here, for fourth grade reading, 74 percent of Kansas white students are at basic or better level. For black students, 44 percent.2 Other subjects and grade levels have similar gaps.
I’m sure GOFKS will say that we need to spend more on schools in order to overcome these problems. But what amount of money, poured into the present system, is likely to make any significant difference?
- Game on for Kansas Schools. Facebook post, July 13, 2016. Available at www.facebook.com/gameonforksschools/posts/1012639852155750. ↩
- U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). This table available at http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/subject/publications/stt2015/pdf/2016008KS4.pdf. ↩