NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 7, 2007

Test scores for high school students have hit a new, 40-year low, says Pat Buchanan, a founding editor of American Conservative magazine.

A National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test of 12th-grade achievement was given to what the New York Times called a "representative sample of 21,000 high school seniors attending 900 public and private schools from January to March 2005."

What did the tests reveal?

  • Since 1990, the share of students lacking even basic reading skills has risen by a third, from 20 percent to 27 percent.
  • Only 35 percent of high school seniors have reached a "proficient" level in reading, down from 40 percent.
  • Only 16 percent of black and 20 percent of Hispanic students had reached a proficient level in reading.
  • Among high school seniors, only 29 percent of whites, 10 percent of Hispanic students and 6 percent of black students were proficient in math.

Factor the dropouts back in, and the NAEP test suggests:

  • Of black kids starting in first grade, about one in eight will be able to read at the level of a high school senior after 12 years, and one in 33 will be able to do the math.
  • Among Hispanic kids, one in 10 will be able to read at a high-school senior level, but only one in 20 will be able to do high-school math.

Under George W. Bush, U.S. Department of Education funding has risen 92 percent in six years, from $35.5 billion in 2001 to $68 billion in 2007.  Sinking test scores are what we have to show for it.  Taxpayers are being lied to and swindled by the education industry, which has failed them, failed America and flunked its assignment -- and should be expelled for cheating, says Buchanan.

Source: Patrick J. Buchanan, "Dumbing-Down of America,", March 6, 2007.


Browse more articles on Education Issues