Obama's Education Secretary has mixed record of achievement
In just seven years, he’s boosted elementary test scores here in Chicago from 38 percent of students meeting the standards to 67 percent. The dropout rate has gone down every year he’s been in charge. And on the ACT, the gains of Chicago students have been twice as big as those for students in the rest of the state.
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report for 2007, Chicago public schools have consistently performed below the national average during Duncan’s tenure.
By 2007, only 17 percent of Chicago eighth graders were at or above grade level in reading. Thirteen percent scored at or above grade level in math. Twenty-three percent scored at or above grade level in writing.
By 2005, the only year Chicago participated in the NEAP assessment program, 16 percent of eighth grade students were at or above grade level in science.
Nationally, students did much better on average in reading, math, science, and writing.
In 2007, 29 percent of eighth grade students scored at or above grade-level in reading, 31 percent in math, and 31 percent in writing. In 2005, 27 percent of eighth grade students were at or above grade level in science.
During Duncan’s tenure, the Chicago district did not significantly increase its scores in reading, rising only one point on average from 2002 to 2007 – from 249 of a possible 500 in 2002, to 250 in 2007. The national average in 2007 was 263. Seventy-five percent of Chicago students scored less than 273 on the reading assessment.
In math, Chicago Public Schools’ average score increased from 254 in 2003 to 260 in 2007. The national average for 2007 was 280. Seventy-five percent of Chicago students scored below 283 in the math assessment.
In writing, the average score for students in Chicago Public Schools increased from 136 out of 300 in 2002 to 146 in 2007. The national average in 2007 was 154. Approximately 50 percent of Chicago students scored below 148 in the writing assessment.
In science, the Chicago Public Schools average score was 124 out of 300; the national average was 147. Three-quarters of Chicago students scored below 146 on the science assessment.
Because in the end, responsibility for our children’s success doesn’t start in Washington. It starts in our homes and our families. No education policy can replace a parent who makes sure a child gets to school on time, or helps with homework and attends those parent-teacher conferences. No government program can turn off the TV, or put away the video games and read to a child at night.
No government program can give a child parents who care and act upon it; no government can give a child a decent community.