65% of Public School Students Are Not Proficient in Reading, 67% Not Proficient in Math

The results from the National Assessment of Educational progress (NAEP) for 2017 shows a truly disconcerting state of affairs in America's public schools. 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 math. The results were even worse for students in urban school districts.

And what is proficiency? The Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics puts out these criteria:

“Eighth-graders performing at the Proficient level should…understand the connections between fractions, percents, decimals, and other mathematical topics such as algebra and functions,” says NCES. “Students at this level are expected to have a thorough understanding of Basic level arithmetic operations—an understanding sufficient for problem solving in practical situations.”

When analyzing how many students actually meet these standards, it's horrendously low, especially in urban districts.

"Among the 27 large urban districts for which the Department of Education published 2017 NAEP test scores, the Detroit public schools had the lowest percentage of students who scored proficient or better in math and the lowest percentage who scored proficient or better in reading.

Only 5 percent of Detroit public-school eighth graders were proficient or better in math. Only 7 percent were proficient or better in reading."

In Cleveland, the rate was 11 percent for math, and 10 percent for reading.

In Baltimore, it was 11 percent for math, and 13 percent for reading.

In Fresno, it was 11 percent for math, and 14 percent for reading.

The charts put together by CNS News are truly nothing less than shocking. How can this be in America? Our kids are hardly literate and yet we expect to remain a free society? That cannot be.

These proficiency rates have to change going forward. I don't know exactly what the answer is though. We've been spending copious amounts of money on education for decades, but this is the result. Decentralization? School choice? I'm not totally sure, but I do know that it can't stay this way if we want to have a thriving society.