Report: Seventy-Nine Percent of Eighth Graders In Chicago Public Schools Are Below Proficient In Reading

With teachers striking in Chicago, the news is not good over all for parents and students in my home town after the Department of Education released data showing an incredible Seventy-nine percent of the 8th graders in the Chicago Public Schools are not grade-level proficient in reading. In addition, 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in math.

Looking at the report, this appears a slight improvement. It is an astonishing disclosure and a ringing condemnation of our current efforts on public education. These children are being condemned to a life of low-level employment if they cannot meet basic reading and math requirements. Moreover, our country is unlikely to compete in the world economy with such a work force.

The data is the result of the U.S. Department of Education administered National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests in reading and math to students around the country — scored on a scale of 0 to 500. Nationally, students on average score a 264 on the test. In Chicago, the average is 253. The students are placed in ascending groups from “below basic,” “basic,” “proficient” or “advanced.”

Nationally, public school 8th graders scored an average of 264 on the NAEP reading test. Statewide in Illinois, the 8th graders did a little better, scoring an average of 266. But in the Chicago Public Schools, 8th graders scored an average of only 253 in reading. That was lower even than the nationwide average of 255 among 8th graders in “large city” public schools. Only 19 percent rated proficient in reading with another 2 percent rated advanced. That latter figure is equally disappointing that only two percent reached the highest category of performance.

The data shows 48 percent at basic for reading; 18 at proficient; and 3 percent at advanced. That would appear to show 31 percent below even the basic line for reading. Math looks better on that scale with 64 percent at basic, 20 percent at proficient, and 2 percent at advanced. However, it still shows a large percentage at just barely getting by on math.

Once again, I will have to note that we are spending hundreds of billions in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan while our schools continue to decline and our students fall lower in global rankings for reading and math. The ultimate result is both inevitable and disastrous for this country – we will gradually lose our economic and technological edge in the world. Moreover, the distance between the wealthy and poor in this country is likely to grew even more extreme as citizens enter the job market without basic tools needed to secure better paying jobs.

The lack of support is not necessarily in teacher salaries. According to ABC News, the average salary in Chicago is the highest in the country at $71,236 a year. There remains a serious crisis in our schools in terms of the support given to programs, tutoring, and resources. While Congress is keen on constantly studying the relative strength of our military, it does not appear to see the national security crisis growing in our emerging workforce in the twenty-first century.

Source: Department of Education

29 thoughts on “Report: Seventy-Nine Percent of Eighth Graders In Chicago Public Schools Are Below Proficient In Reading

  1. I would be willing to bet that there is a nearly 1:1 correlation to poverty and test scores in Chicago. Given the continued attacks on public education (adjusted for inflation, the US spends half of what it did per student in 1978) and the increase in poverty rate I expect these number to get even worse.

  2. I have read that one of the major points of contention between the teachers’ union and the school district was the issue of accountability for students’ lack of progress. The union claims the teachers should not be held accountable because it is not possible to truly measure a teacher’s responsibility for students’ failures because there are many other issues involved.

    Here these teachers are some of the most highly compensated in the nation yet the results from the students’ tests are bad. Doesn’t seem to be a very cost effective group of individuals. Now they are refusing to do their jobs. Why are they still employed?

  3. The Leftists and Right-wingers are secretly rejoicing at this news. Why? Because the Leftists and their far Right-wing buddies who favor oppression know that the dumber the population, the more powerful the Leftists become. Is it any surprise that Obama’s home town, Chicago, home to the filthiest and the most corrupt Leftist political machine in the USA should have the dumbest children? Of course not! They LIKE it that way. And who are the powers behind the Leftists–the ones that created Obama and put him in the White House? The very wealthiest Americans and the big corporations that they control?

    Did anyone catch the news that Obama is sending representatives of Coca-Cola and Pfizer to Egypt to assist the Muslim Brotherhood with its control over Egypt? I doubt it. The major news media isn’t covering that. And the Leftists aren’t going to help that kind of information get out.

    The great comedian George Carlin had it right abou the American Dream. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q

  4. …and those were the ones who didn’t drop out and are even less proficient. This is endemic in schools all over the country. And many take pride in their ignorance!

  5. The timing of this report is interesting. It is not surprising that the Chicago Public schools are lagging, but they have improved as Prof. Turley reported. Teachers can improve the performance of students, but poverty and their home situation is probably more important than the quality of teachers. Frankly was exactly correct about the Chicago Public School system has been siphoning funds to the so-called charter schools and magnet schools and basically giving up on the vast majority of Chicago schools. The class size issue, notwithstanding Gov. Romneys ignorance, is vitally important to student success. Especially when the students are struggling coming in.

  6. I bet it is because they are passed from one grade to the next without mastering the skill. I have seen it year after year—and the bad teachers comply with the overbearing principal and the demanding parents instead of holding their ground for the student !

  7. When I lived in KC I was a juvenile probation officer for 2 years. This was in the mid 70’s. I would be in inner city high schools on a daily basis checking on my probationers. The schools were chaotic and not a setting for education. Well, it went downhill from there. Millions of dollars were pumped into the school system, public and private. The owner of the KC Royals set up scholarship funds so ALL the graduates of an inner city school could attend college. Everything failed. The last I checked the ENTIRE KC school district was unaccredited. This is a national disgrace and one of the challenges Obama and Arnie Duncan have taken head on. It may be a quixotic endeavor, but @ least they’re trying.

  8. “These children are being condemned to a life of low-level employment if they cannot meet basic reading and math requirements. Moreover, our country is unlikely to compete in the world economy with such a work force.”

    The move to a feudal society is working. Considering that China is competing quite will with slavery level wages, I think Chicago students are in the running to move the US into contender status.

  9. QUOTE
    The ultimate result is both inevitable and disastrous for this country – we will gradually lose our economic and technological edge in the world. UNQUOTE

    We already have, did anyone miss this.
    I won’t go into the economic edge, you all know it too well.

    I hope there is not anyone who is NOT acquainted with the fact that we are holding our own in the technology race THANKS TO FOREIGN ACADEMICS ATTRACTED TO AMERICA.

    And Obama knows this. He is doing what he can to RETAIN the foreign bright minds who come here to study by easing barriars.

    One of the biggest science program leaders on TV (name?), himself with slanty eyes, has made and proven the point. A very well known fact in academia.

    Are they smarter than us? Don’t know, but they are more of them than of us, and as a Swedish scientist of world class said after postgrad studie in India, that he was left in the dust by his Indian student competitors in India—although he thought he was smart. And it was not rote knowledge either.

    We are not the ultimate. And now the chances are getting less and less. Many tales to tell. But these you bring out suffice.

  10. Poverty. No family support. Lack of discipline in school and out. Lack of roll models other than reality TV, Hollywood and music thugs. Also, and maybe I’m wrong but, why don’t we funnel our children into differing areas of study. Not all kids are college material. Start job training at an earlier age. Auto repairs, hair stylists, painters will always have jobs…and back it up with basic business classes.

  11. Anecdotal, daily experience tells me that 79% of all high school graduates, and a shockingly high percent of even college graduates are no no better
    than those kids in Shecago.

  12. Jane.

    “Start job training at an earlier age. Auto repairs, hair stylists, painters will always have jobs…and back it up with basic business classes.”

    We have had since many years what we call “yrkesinriktad gymnasier”, ie job-oriented junior colleges with just these courses. Works fine, but jobs are scarce in a
    pressed economy.

    Talked to a savvy business person today, who said that Sweden is carrying on rather well, and our conservative led government finance minister is SURPRISE—saying they will emulate Obama’s investment program.
    They are not going to follow the Republicans.
    They would lose the next election if they did. The socialists are in a depression, and have finally gotten out of the “denial” stage accdg to media analysis.

    We have had stagflation too long.
    We are increasing but good jobs are not.

    Buildings are going up everywhere in Stockholm, but jobs are scarce. Unemploymeet system pays for “jobs” for young people to take to get some merits and experience.

    Thanks for your input.

  13. With teachers striking in Chicago, the news is not good over all for parents and students in my home town after the Department of Education released data showing an incredible Seventy-nine percent of the 8th graders in the Chicago Public Schools are not grade-level proficient in reading. In addition, 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in math.
    ==============================================
    Most of the students didn’t go to school yesterday or today. Heard it on the radio.

  14. Pat Mock 1, September 11, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I bet it is because they are passed from one grade to the next without mastering the skill. I have seen it year after year—and the bad teachers comply with the overbearing principal and the demanding parents instead of holding their ground for the student !
    ===============================
    Do you know how to get sued?

  15. idealist707 1, September 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I hope there is not anyone who is NOT acquainted with the fact that we are holding our own in the technology race THANKS TO FOREIGN ACADEMICS ATTRACTED TO AMERICA.
    =================================
    Before I got fired by the IRS I audited a computer programming consulting firm in Chicago. They were importing all their programmers from India. I gave them an adjustment for $135,000 because they weren’t taking the Per Diem Rates reduction for meals.

    http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/21287

    Their CPA firm was KPMG. Felt kind of bad about it, but I did it anyway.

  16. http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/11/chris_hedges_dems_owe_chicago_public

    CHRIS HEDGES: Well, you know, the tactic is clear. And, you know, the secretary of education, Duncan, is behind it. And that is essentially the stripping away of—you know, of qualified teachers. We’re watching it in New York. You know, the mayor of New York is very much a part of this effort. The assault on the New York City teachers’ union is as egregious as the assault against the Chicago Teachers Union.

    And it really boils down to the fact that we spend $600-some billion a year, the federal government, on education, and the corporations want it. That’s what’s happening. And that comes through charter schools. It comes through standardized testing. And it comes through breaking teachers’ unions and essentially hiring temp workers, people who have very little skills. This is what Teach for America is about. They teach by rote, and they earn nothing. There’s no career. I mean, there’s quite a difference between teaching people what to think and teaching people how to think. And corporate forces want to teach people what to think. It’s a kind of classism. People get slotted. It’s vocational. And so, I see what’s happening in Chicago as, you know, one of the kind of seminal uprisings of our age. And if they don’t succeed, we’re all in deep trouble.

  17. And so, I see what’s happening in Chicago as, you know, one of the kind of seminal uprisings of our age. And if they don’t succeed, we’re all in deep trouble.
    ========
    Well said. Do you think they’re going to succeed?

  18. No surprise here: the Mayor is a graduate of the Israeli military, where only Spartans are preferred.

    the poor students in Chicago will fill the ranks of our Military in its missions to enforce Freedom and Democracy in the world.

  19. Having taught high school for 20 years I can attest to the fact that minds are not being challenged, and it has nothing to do with money. The diet is junk food, soda, sex, drugs, and violence. Garbage in, garbage out. There is little respect for self or authority, and no discipline. And like the ostrich, teacher unions have their heads in the sand which unfortunately leaves their bottoms exposed to those who are paying attention.

  20. NYimes headlines that Mayor Emanual is having trouble handling it.

    I’d say treat the students like prisoners. Put a guard in every hall, class, toilet, schoolyard, etc.

    Institute quizzes each day for one subject to be taken before leaving school is allowed. Failing the test means end of week extra “study hour” time. And forced eating of a portion broccoli before being allowed to leave school.

    Any sujpporters. Seemed it worked with forbidding alcohol, remember?

  21. idealist707 1, September 12, 2012 at 6:28 am

    MATT,

    FIRED BY THE IRS. Quite a merit, I seriously mean it.
    ==========================================
    Thanks. I was told by Jean I had to go to a “Last Rights” meeting. I said what’s that? She said it’s to discuss your future employment with the IRS. At the meeting I was told to either resign or be fired. I didn’t resign.

  22. The in box. The $74,000 lie.

    To fact check this claim, I went to the best source available to the public: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS has data from May 2011 for the Chicago metropolitan area that breaks down the average salary for teachers. Across the profession, teachers in the area were earning an average salary of $56,720.

  23. Please read “The Unfinished Business of the Civil Rights Movement:Failure of America’s Public Schools to Properly Educate its African American Student Populations.” It can possibly be enlightening to some who are still in the fog concerning proper education of Black, non-mainstream inner-city students..

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