This week we’ll stray a little from straight education economics and discuss some of the findings in the most recent issue of The Future of Children, Literacy Challenges for the Twenty-First Century.” There’s so much great, and accessible, material here that I can only touch on a few points that I found to be the most provocative.
Let me begin with a picture from the introduction to the issue by Dick Murnane, Isabel Sawhill, and Catherine Snow. I’ve doctored the picture to make a point.
You can see that over the 70’s and 80’s great progress was made in closing the reading gap between white children and black and latino children. White reading scores stayed steady while minority scores shot up, although not by enough to wipe the gap out.
How did I doctor the picture? I took an eraser to all the data after 1988 to make the point visually clearer. Here’s the full graphic, left unmeddled with except for the addition of the dotted line marking 1988.
Now look at the most recent two decades. First off some reading progress has been made, especially for white kids. But we’ve long since stopped closing the gap.
More on Wednesday…