Eighty-Three Percent Of D.C. Students Score Below “Proficient” In Reading and 81 Percent Are Below “Proficient” In Math

SchoolClassroomThe public schools in Washington, D.C. continue to set a record for per pupil costs in the nation. The District has long been the most expensive system in the country and reportedly spends roughly $30,000 per student in a system that continues to produce appalling results in national studies. The latest such study is by the respected National Center for Education Statistics which has found that in 2013 83 percent of the eighth graders in these schools were not “proficient” in reading and 81 percent were not “proficient” in math.

The only improvement is marginal at best. The percentage of students who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level was 57 percent in 2013. This percentage was greater than that in 2011 (51 percent) and in 1998 (44 percent). However, this is an extremely low level of performance and 43 percent are below even that level.

What is equally distressing is that this study went with virtually no mention in Washington. Indeed, the Washington Post gave more attention to the discarding of trash bins than this most recent educational data.

D.C. eighth graders scored an average of 248 out of 500 in reading. Mississippi finished next to last with an average of 253.

DC spends more than twice as other large cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and Dallas, though figures vary between studies and reports. The figure is derived from dividing total expenditures in Table 1 by enrollment in Table 15 of the Census Bureau statistics. The Census Bureau’s Table 11 puts the per capital costs for elementary schools at over $27,000 up to 2010. (note that this is a different calculation than Table 8 on per capita spending levels).

New York spends $5,353 less per student.

By the way, of that money, only $10,584 per pupil is spent on “instruction” and $1,613 on “instructional staff.”

Whatever the cost, the D.C. schools continue to fail and thousands of students are facing a dim future without basic skills to succeed. Many will be left to a cycle poverty where they lack the necessary skills to succeed in a new and more demanding job market. It is a chilling statistic that is measured in real terms in the lives of thousands of students.

These statistics are truly frightening. D.C. has a long reputation for wasteful and poorly managed systems. This low level of performance is even more striking when it is between two of the most successful school systems in the country: Montgomery (MD) and Fairfax Counties (VA). Clearly D.C. deals with a large number of impoverished students, but that does not explain this continuing failure of this system at such a high cost. Other cities have such impoverished areas and do far better with far less. The city seems to be continuing to discard thousands of students with the same level of care as its recent trash bin scandal. Yet, there remains no serious backlash against the city’s elected officials or demands for a fundamental change in the school system after decades of such poor performance.

588 thoughts on “Eighty-Three Percent Of D.C. Students Score Below “Proficient” In Reading and 81 Percent Are Below “Proficient” In Math”

  1. feynman


    Do you have a link for the Supreme thing? Sounds interesting.
    It is in the comment (the green text … ) if you can’t find it let me know and I will repost it.

    Anyway, what the long-time professor who wrote the Law Journal Article points out is, they go back and change opinions years after the decision is released to the public.

    Thing if congress did that to statutes, or the president did that to executive orders … or if newspapers etc. did that.

    It is out of the realm of sanity.

    1. It is pretty hard to change decisions that have gone before unless under Lexis/Nexis they can get to the data copy of the decision. Those decisions are published and then bound in number books for reference in upcoming cases. This isn’t like the Congressional Record where they change everything.

  2. Paul

    I’ve no doubt you’ve a wonderful memory. Can you do a copy and repost of my comment so I can apologize to Karen?


  3. Annie

    I appointed myself, just for today, tommorow it’s your turn to keep score. 🙂
    Nickus the Pea Eye (bless his pea picken heart) should do it cause he already keeps count of questions asked him per Libtard.

  4. Dredd

    Do you have a link for the Supreme thing? Sounds interesting.

  5. Paul Schulte

    Annie – did Turley make you scorekeeper? Should we ask Jonathan if he appointed you to this position? Not sure how someone who is part of the discussion can also keep score?
    Just remember that 2 follows 1, and 0 … well zero is mavericky.

  6. Paul Schulte

    And yet you think the WaPo and HuffPo are neutral.
    I am sure they have not been neutered.

  7. Karen

    I could not locate your enrollment figure. Give me the title of the report, the table as identified in the table of contents, and a page number and I will try again. That is once you have offered an explanation as to:

    1. why use 2010 data for 2013 / 2014 reports?

    2. why you reject all my links that report school enrollments much greater than

    3. how many children are enrolled in DC charter schools?

    Sorry I have to ask you to go first. But sadly. I find that I think I am engaged in a debate, only to find my opponent has left the field. I’m tired of that game. But I’m here if yours is a serious effort to resolve a disagreement.

  8. Annie

    Wow, conservatives are batting 0 on this long thread.
    Here is another one … The conservative Robert’s Supreme Five following the Rehnquist Boyz, might be among the ire if they win the count when this report gets published this year: Harvard Law Review Article (The (Non)Finality of Supreme Court Opinions (128 Harv.L.Rev.____) … forthcoming 2014). I mean what does this do to Scalia’s “original intent” thingy, or to Uncle Clarence’s memory of Brown v Board of Education, or Dred Scott?

    1. I notice the court corrected Sotomayor’s bad history on Judaism.

  9. I appointed myself, just for today, tommorow it’s your turn to keep score. 🙂

    1. Annie – there are no self-appointments. Didn’t you scream bloody murder when you thought Nick was putting a limit on questions? How is this different.

  10. Don’t think so, Karen.

    Post the citation and if I did I’ll be happy to apologize. Without a citation, I have to question your memory of the comment.

  11. Don’t forget the Census Bureau enrollment figures were for 2010.

  12. Feynman – keep scrolling down. Enrollment does show up in the table in the Census Bureau. If anyone knows how to post a screen shot, please let me know.

  13. Ugh. I’m multi tasking. Yes, I meant WashTimes was owned by the Moonies until 2010. They’re names are so similar.

    And Feynman, yes, you did actually suggest that I go join the Moonies when I linked to a Washington Times article in another post.

    1. Annie – did Turley make you scorekeeper? Should we ask Jonathan if he appointed you to this position? Not sure how someone who is part of the discussion can also keep score?

  14. Karen

    You are very, very very mistaken.

    I know the difference between the Washington TIMES and the Washington POST.

    The Washington Times was founded by Rev. Moon. It is a right wing propaganda site. And I have said this whenever anyone offers the Times as a source.

      1. ‘WaPo is in the tank for the Democrats.’

        Which Democrats. The WS, corporate CEO, big money Democrats? Or the blue collar, rank and file, bridge and tunnel type Democrats?

        And which Democrats do you think Obama and his administration represents.

        We do have a two party system. The only problem is they are both trying to represent big corporate money.

        The rest of us might as well pull up a chair and watch in fascination.

  15. BFM:

    Feynman calls WashPo a Moonie paper because it belonged to the founder until 2010.

    1. @Karen S

      Well maybe. I could be wrong, but I believe it was the Washington Times that belonged to the Moonies. I honestly don’t know who owns them now.

      Actually over the years the Times has had some pretty good journalist working for it – maybe a little to the right. Don’t press me, or I will have to go back looking up names for domestic and foreign affairs reporting.

      While I think the Moonie association raises questions regarding content, I don’t think that, over the years,there was nearly the kind of party line news reporting at the Times that we see today in some of the major news outlets.

      But that is just my opinion.

      If it was not for the internet, what ever would we do for news.

      Besides, what could be more family oriented than Moonies and their mass weddings. I just draw the line at gloves on my honeymoon – but each to his own.

      BTW, Karen S, thanks for your earlier remarks. But, Nick and I have been pushing each other going on two years now. We don’t always agree. We don’t always get the right answer. But we don’t stop and that is a good thing. Stick around, I am pretty sure he said he is buying the next round.

  16. Okay, Paul! Perhaps we could go with my Washington Post article, or the Mayor’s comments about student enrollments. There was something from CNN, too. Let us know what you think.

  17. Annie, that’s great. Thanks.

    Darren? I love the Lions of Discord. Karen and I are trying to work through some numbers. Nick seems a little annoyed. Everyone else is fine. Just a heads up.

    1. Just the other day, the head of CNN said he would not be guilted into covering Benghazi. You think I am going to them for facts? The Mayor is in CYA mode and WaPo is in the tank for the Democrats. I am sure I could not take their figures for anything.

      You know have my thoughts.

  18. Nick says

    Get all that Karen??? How’s the question quota lookin’ to you now?

    Jeez! One question proves to be beyond the tolerance of Nick. Thank goodness there is no need for him to participate.

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