Almost 70 Percent Of Eighth Graders In Public Schools Fail proficiency In English and Math

Andrew_Classroom_De_La_Salle_University.jpeg-1The United States continues to fail our children in public schools in cranking out children who are below basic proficiency in both math and English.  With an increasingly competitive economy demanding higher levels of skills, we are leaving most of our children in a position with dwindling opportunities and futures.  According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress test results released by the U.S. Department of Education, sixty-five percent of the eighth graders in American public schools in 2017 were not proficient in reading and 67 percent were not proficient in mathematics. That dire situation is even worse in cities like Detroit.


In Detroit, only 5 percent of Detroit public-school eighth graders were proficient or better in math and only 7 percent were proficient or better in reading.  Schools in Cleveland, Fresno, and Baltimore are little better.

We have previously discussed the ongoing failure of our public schools.  Again, I understand that many of these kids are coming from broken homes or extreme poverty that makes the task far more challenging for the schools. However, these statistics are still an utter disgrace for any system and show massive budgets being spent without minimal and measurable success. I still believe in public education and I have sent my kids to public schools. I believe these schools play an important role in our democratic systems in raising future citizens. We cannot fail in this basic task as a nation and remain a viable and successful country in the increasing challenging global economy. These scores reflect a permanent underclass where these children are finished before they even start to make their way in life.

137 thoughts on “Almost 70 Percent Of Eighth Graders In Public Schools Fail proficiency In English and Math”

  1. I have a belief that a baby’s education begins with the health, mental stability and the spiritual faith of both parents, for that baby to develop into an intelligent human being. This can only be attained with highly qualified educators that teach the fundamentals in the class room that have a positive influence in the minds of the student. Our children are not being taught the curriculum that means the difference between social acceptance or a malcontent. Homeschooling is and has been very successful in developing healthy, intelligent children. For decades our educational system has been embedded with leftist, progressive liberals that indoctrinate social engineering that totally ignores and destroys American fundamental values. This trend of learning, must be stopped. No matter how difficult matters are at home, there must be found a way to ensure the health and well-being for the child to develop a level of education that is meaningful and productive for himself and society. Parents must demand to the echelons of the U.S. Education Department to totally abolish all harmful institutions of learning, that are detrimental to the core, moral values of American life. This can and must be done, for the survival of generations to come.

  2. “In Detroit, only 5 percent of Detroit public-school eighth graders were proficient or better in math and only 7 percent were proficient or better in reading. Schools in Cleveland, Fresno, and Baltimore are little better.”

    As a mother, I cannot tell you how this grieves me. No child should be saddled with a substandard education. Our country is graduating high school seniors who can hardly string a coherent sentence together verbally, let alone in writing. I saw this short video where multiple people were asked, if a car goes 60 mph, how far will it travel in an hour. No. One. Knew. This was a perplexing insurmountable trick question to them. My God. They vote on everything from taxes to railroads.

    In order to graduate high school, our students should have a (non-biased!) education in civics, and a basic education so they can be self supporting. You can’t be self-supporting if you are functionally illiterate and cannot apply math to everyday life. Doomed. You’re doomed.

    Plus, when so many are behind, they drag the rest of the class down with them. How are you going to ever get on to the next topic for the 5 kids who are with it, when the rest of them have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about???

    I volunteer at my son’s school, and I’ve spoken with other volunteers at all the schools around. Our experience is the same. You can tell right off the bat who is getting help at home with homework, and who is on their own. A parent cannot expect one teacher to give 25-30 kids in her classroom all of the undivided attention that they need during class time. They can give help after class. They can get tutoring help during school. Or their parents can help them when they get stuck. But someone has got to put in the effort. If a teacher has to do it all, then class sizes should be no more than 10.

    Kids do better in school when there is a parent at home who helps them with their homework or explains what they don’t understand. They do better when the parent is educated enough to understand their homework. That is why the children of married, more educated people usually do better in school. There is a living body there to at home to tell them to do their homework, and they have the ability to explain it when they get stuck. I had to learn Common Core from the ground up just to help explain the tortuous process they’ve made of how to add and subtract to my little boy. And wait until we get to the lattice method of multiplication. (Darn you, Common Core, darn you!!) Without someone putting in the time, the kid is on his own. When a kid is on his own, if he doesn’t get a topic, then he gets a bad grade on that topic, and they move on. When that topic is foundational to all future topics like, say, math or writing skills, then he falls further and further behind.

    Ways to improve children’s education in failing schools are indisputable and supported by peer-reviewed studies:
    1. Wait to have kids before you are married.
    2. Do you best to pick a good mate and avoid divorce unless necessary.
    3. Read to your young children every day and help them practice reading.
    4. Teach them good homework habits.
    5. If your kid does his homework on his own, look it over. Is he making mistakes? Does he get the topic? Do you get the topic?
    6. If your kid has trouble understanding a topic, then help him yourself, get him a tutor, ask the teacher to tutor him, do something.

    Some kids miss out on some of the above, and some miss out on all. I know people who grew up middle class, white, to parents who were married. Their parents never helped them with homework a day in their lives. Thought it was the school’s job and none of their business. This was a hindrance and impacted their education.

    This isn’t about blaming or castigating anyone. It’s about arming them with tools to improve their lives and their kids lives. Kids grow up fast and there is no time to ignore their schooling.

    There are kids out there who are screwed. It’s not fair. For those, I wholeheartedly support tutoring programs, mentoring programs, anything to help fill the gap. Lowering the bar is not going to make anyone more successful at life. But filling in education gaps and ensuring that high school graduates are well educated will.

  3. The website is confusing cacophony of data without legends or descriptions. It’s no wonder the public system is in such a sad state when data about it are encoded in such a cryptic way.

    But the portion of it JT references, and is understandable, is actually here:

    Private schools outperform public schools at a ratio of roughly 2:1.

    JT references 8th grade in his writeup. Math performance gets WORSE by 12th grade. Colleges have really dumbed down their entrance requirements for the majority of kids to gain acceptance.

  4. Liberals and enviro-wackos are hopelessly enamored of Elon Musk.

    Mr. Musk applied technology to rocketry and now lands them backwards, eliminating the excessive cost of

    labor for recovery and preserving expensive equipment for reuse.

    Assign the task of maximizing the efficiency of education dollars to Mr. Musk.


    The first thing he would do is eliminate the wasteful and unjustifiable budget of the Dept. of Education

    and make education local.

    Then he would digitize and automate the curricula and facilitate non-local electronic instruction.

    Finally, he would reduce the days of required attendance and the number of campi.

    Elon Musk would do to teacher ranks what the computer did accounting work forces after 1970.

    He would decimate the legions of extraneous teachers.

  5. No prob they can get jobs writing propaganda or programming posts for the DNC and the lame left wing DNC regressive socialist shills.

  6. I’ve been thinking for some time that school education really needs a new paradigm. Seems to me, schools should only be physical ed and lab centers. The rest should be taught on-line. Remove all teachers and allow only the best ones to teach the on-line courses to millions of kids. The kids could build their own curriculum. This would work well for colleges too. Would you rather be a teacher making 100K /year or $10 per class to 500,000 students? The students benefit too since they will get taught be the best of the best.

    1. Competition is the answer. Competition provides a better product at a lower cost.
      Until that happens, the steady decent of the horrible American public school system will continue.

      1. My granddaughters were schooled at home and at charter schools. Their parents gave up the free education guaranteed by property taxes. All materials used in classrooms K-middle school were purchased by their parents. Our daughter did such a wonderful job both girls were put into advanced classes in high school, plus ability to take classes at nearby community college. I got a wonderful education K-12 plus community college, FREE. The deteoration of our schools is an attempt to create little communists, like the students lobbying for gun control. First, close the Department of Education, taking another layer back to the States, along with funds not used for DofE.

    2. Do they get to design their own social promotions. Keep it up we will be forced to import foreign labor from Mexico instead of hiring a nation of blithering idiots.

  7. Allow corporate America to fully automate the classroom.

    Make the classroom an iPhone or PC.

    Create a faculty iCloud.

    Apple, Dell, Microsoft and Rockwell Automation.

    “Good morning, class, I am Hal 9000, your teacher and i work for free.”

    “I’m sorry, Dave, I can’t do that,” said the teachers union thugs.

    Industrial production has been automated and digitized for four decades.

    Teachers union thugs and liberals egregiously perpetuate ineffective, manual and analog education.

    Public education is nothing but a daycare and “redistribution of wealth” program.

    Close the Dept. of Education.

    Decertify teachers unions.

    Fire strikers.

    Automate education.

    1. George – I am all for closing the US Dept of Ed, but I think the state dept need to stay open.

      1. Not really. Subsidiary to the board of regents you can have an agency which composes examinations: civil service, occupational licensure, school, and perhaps baccalaureate examinations. You can have 7 or 8 autonomous inspectorates one of which would be a performance auditor whose book would cover the whole of public services and include schools, child protective services, and local police. At most, what you’d need would be a small trusteeship of which tertiary campuses and consortial school districts would be notional affiliates. Federal aid to education would be appropriated by this agency to consortial districts which would execute state mandates. You could debar regular school districts from taking federal aid and limit state aid to an unrestricted check calculated by formulae.

  8. I have an old friend who is a white 6th grade teacher in an all-black West Baltimore elementary school. Two years ago, in early December, he told the kids that a very important day for America, December 7th, was coming the following week. He asked the kids if any of them knew what day it was.

    All but one said they had no idea and he said “Hanukah”.

    He then asked them if any of them had ever heard about Pearl Harbor Day.

    Not only did they not know about Peral Harbor, NONE of the class knew anything about WWII. He brought this to the attention of the principal and was told that teaching the kids about WWII was not important.

    I grew up in East Baltimore and went to a Public elementary school until 1971. In the 5th and 6th, my teachers not only taught me about WWII, I learned about the Hittites, the Bizantine Empire, the Egyptians, the Moorish invasion of Spain, via the movie El Sid, the American Revolution, War of 1812, the American Civil War and the evils of COMMUNISM.

    This problem rests squarely on the shoulders of those that run the school system and those in the Teachers Union, who care more about which Democrat to give Union Dues to and protecting bad teachers, than they do about teaching.

    Baltimore City Public Schools average 40 kids per class now. It has morphed into nothing but a baby sitting service.

    Beginning in 1971, I moved up to MIddle School and the 7th grade. It also happened to be the very year that the liberals forced school busing on America. Black kids from the inner city were bused out to the white neighborhood schools. After two years and personally experiencing 8 or 9 muggings by roaming bands of inner city blacks, in the school bathroom and bus stop, my mother and father had had enough. We left and moved to Baltimore County.

    This mass movement, which happened all across America, was termed “White Flight”. It is the very root cause why most of the white, working class tax payers left America’s cities for the suburbs.
    By 1980, successful black American’s also left for the same reason.

    You can make all the excuses you wish as to why America’s inner cities are in total decay, but the blame totally rests with the political party that has had total control of them for 60 to 80 years, THE DEMOCRATS.

    1. aka the Progressively Regressive Socialists seeking to reinstall themselves as the Party of Slavery.

    2. JRjr – But I noticed you did NOT mention the USS Liberty attack.

      1. Autumn – WE accepted the attack on the USS Liberty as an accident and the Israelis paid damages. Personally, I think they did on purpose because they had to. This is not the first time we have had a warship damaged, attacked, sunk or captured and we did not go to war.

        1. Personally, I think they did on purpose because they had to.

          You weren’t doing much thinking when you made that remark.

          1. DSS – I put a lot of thought into that comment. If you review the situation surrounding the attack on the USS Liberty, you will understand my comment. That does not mean I am correct, just that I put some thought into it.

            1. DSS – I put a lot of thought into that comment. If you review the situation surrounding the attack on the USS Liberty, you will understand my comment.

              Your explanation is nonsensical to begin with and has been thoroughly debunked.

      2. Because it’s an obsession with witless anti-semites and Jonathan Turley is a normal adult.

  9. Good point that’s really a big part of the larger problem. The easy way has led to “chicken scratch” over cursive, or calculators over pencil to paper (or show your work), as two examples. This slovenly attitude shortcuts the thinking process, and I’ve noticed examples across all subject matters.

    1. IJ get to do this one again.

      The words to the song are a litany of double negatives which as any literate person knows reverses the meaning.It’s a plaintive cry from students who want an education and are asking to have their teachers replaced so they won’t end up ad bricks.

  10. The questions published in the NYT don’t sound like questions a prosecutor asks investigating a specific crime, trying to uncover pertinent facts. Too many questions ask “What did you think…? as if reaching for some kind of thought crime.

  11. If we know what works best in the classroom, why aren’t we using it?

    Project Follow Through was the largest educational study ever conducted by the federal government; $1billlion from 1968-1994. The study was originally conducted using 700k grade school students (K-3) purposely chosen from poor socioeconomic conditions; utilizing “direct instruction” with the teacher directing the class (no pods). The result: children taught to read with direct instruction in intensive, explicit & systematic phonics vastly outperformed. In other words, learning is fundamentally an isolated task, and the old-fashioned way works best.

    note: I’ve been in the trenches battling with my local sneering & smirking school board on behalf of my own children, particularly re the crippling reading instruction they mind-bogglingly are so stuck on: whole language or balanced literacy. This lazy pedagogy has consequences: eg, in California, about 30% of State universities offer “remedial reading” courses. The overall flaky curriculum in government schools originates in our teaching colleges.

    1. If we know what works best in the classroom, why aren’t we using it?

      See Marva Collins remarks on this subject. Teaching phonics is boring for teachers, so many teachers dislike the method and eschew it.

      John Derbyshire once offered that ‘easier for them’ is your best bet as an explanation of why educational apparatchiki do what they do.

    2. Because the system is run by bureaucrats in Washington DC


      If the points of a line are divided into two sets, such that all the points of one set precede in order of the points on a line all those of the second set, then there is one and only one point which separates the points of the two sets.

      Any guesses as to the source?

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