The more important data point is that with essentially no gains in 2017, fewer than half of California’s children are meeting English standards and fewer than 38 percent in math.
That should be seen as a major crisis, but when one looks at the numbers for black and Latino kids, and those classified as poor or “English learners,” they even more shameful.
While three-quarters of Asian students and two-thirds of whites hit the competency mark in English, fewer than a third of black students and just over a third of Latinos did. For poor kids, it was 35.5 percent and for English learners, a minuscule 12.1 percent.
The scores on mathematics were even worse, just 37.6 percent overall, 19 percent for blacks and 25.2 percent for Latinos. The best spin state schools Supt. Tom Torlakson could muster was
The best spin state schools Supt. Tom Torlakson could muster was a weak “I’m pleased we retained our gains,” followed by a rationalization that “these tests are far more rigorous and realistic than the previous paper and pencil tests.”
The low achievement of disadvantaged children is obviously important for their individual futures, but what makes it critical to the state as a whole is that they are about 60 percent of the state’s K-12 students.
When California rolled out new standardized tests, experts said scores would improve when students got used to them. But three tests in, rather than showing strides from familiarity, their scores have stagnated in English and math.
About 3.2 million students in third through eighth grade and 11th grade took the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress in the spring. The tests are aligned to the Common Core standards, and demand mastery — which means they’re harder than California’s old standardized tests.
This year, 49% of students passed the English exam, compared with 48% in 2016. In math, 38% of students met or exceeded the state’s standard, compared with 37% last year. Fifth-graders’ scores dropped slightly in English.
As the next generation of robots arrive in the workplace, will they enable workers or replace them? According to MIT’s Daron Acemoglu, one of the most frequently cited economists in the world, this distinction is the difference between technology that raises workers’ wages versus tech that merely reduces overall employment and wage growth.
Daron Acemoglu is a professor of economics at MIT, a frequent contributor to Foreign Policy Magazine, and co-author of Why Nations Fail. He joins me today to discuss his research and what technological innovation means for the future of work.
New research suggests programs aimed at helping low-income U.S. children, such as Head Start early childhood education and Medicaid health coverage, may have benefits not only for participating children but for their children as well. A recent working paper found the 1980s expansion of Medicaid programs to cover more low-income pregnant women led, years later, to their children giving birth to healthier babies. Another working paper found childhood access to Head Start led to better long-term outcomes in the next generation, including higher high-school graduation rates and reduced criminal behavior.
Female college students aren’t more likely than male students to take bad grades as a sign they should switch their majors – unless they’re studying male-dominated STEM subjects like computer science and physics, according to a new study. Three Georgetown University researchers – economists Adriana Kugler and Olga Ukhaneva and management professor Catherine Tinsley – wrote in a recent working paper that receiving low grades in a stereotypical male discipline where men already are overrepresented may present a potent combination of disincentives for women to continue their studies in that field.