Education Achievement Gap

The "achievement gap" refers to the documented difference in academic performance and test results between racial or ethnic groups. In the United States, White and Asian students consistently outperform their Hispanic and African American peers when it comes to measurements such as standardized tests, GPAs, graduation rates, and receiving college degrees.

The tracking of racial achievement differences largely coincided with the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Flanked by efforts to eliminate academic inequalities through desegregation and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Civil Rights era appeared to promise educational parity for future generations. The achievement gap did in fact narrow during the 1970s and '80s, but these gains diminished and then fluctuated up and down during the following two decades.

One of the most referenced measures of the achievement gap is the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—a standardized test given to 4th and 8th graders. The current gap between Black and White 8th graders is 21 points for reading and 28 points for math. The gap between Hispanic and White eighth grade students measures at 26 points for reading and 23 points for math. Other achievement data demonstrates that Native Americans also struggle with high academic achievement; however, Asian American students do just as well and even better than White students.

The achievement gaps vary by state. For instance, those states with the largest achievement gaps include Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Michigan. The states with the smallest Black-White achievement gap include West Virginia and Hawaii.

Theories abound as to what causes the achievement gaps. The most popular theory is that it's related to poverty and family background. Many minority children are unfortunately growing up in "areas of concentrated poverty," and fail to receive many of the educational benefits that wealthier children regularly experience. These same children often have less educated parents, who are unaware of or unable to give them an early education boost with things such as an expansive vocabulary and other learning techniques. Additionally, the decline of the traditional family – especially the decline of fathers in the home – is thought to play a large part in poor academic achievement.

Peer pressure is also believed to play a role in today's minority achievement gaps, particularly for older students. Harvard professor Roland G. Fryer refers to this phenomenon as "acting white," a situation "in which minority adolescents who get good grades in school enjoy less social popularity than white students who do well academically." According to Fryer's research, White student popularity increases with higher GPAs. However, Black student popularity decreases with higher GPAs, and Hispanic popularity absolutely plummets with increased academic achievement.

Children caught in the achievement gap trap are likely to experience lasting negative effects in their future. Minorities who struggle in primary and secondary schools often continue to have trouble in college and fail to obtain a degree. The absence of a college degree often translates into lower pay in the workforce, which in turn lowers the U.S. economic output. In fact, one study found that closing the achievement gap in the 15 years after the publication of A Nation at Risk would have increased the nation's 2008 GDP by $310 to $525 billion.

The data shows that the achievement gap is a major problem facing America today. Finding a solution agreeable to all parties, however, is another matter. Some say that more money needs to be invested in racially diverse areas. Some suggest that higher standards like stronger reading programs are the key to closing the gap. Others believe that better teachers and longer instruction times are needed. Still others suggest that a stronger emphasis on social skills such as respect and discipline is the answer to the problem.

This topic provides a variety of facts, figures, and data on the extent of the achievement gap, and offers a variety of opinions and potential solutions to increase the academic achievement of America's children.

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The following collection of data breaks down 4th and 8th grade math scores by state, comparing the performance of poor students to non-poor students. Minnesota's results are highlighted.

The learning gap is caused by socioeconomic and family risk factors that often leave children deficient in the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in school.

Stern argues that New York City's approach to the racial achievement gap has been a series of failed experiments, rather than traditional models for making sure young children can read. The basic skill of reading leads to all other academic skills.

Along with others, I very much hope Generation Next accomplishes at least a portion of its quest -- which includes having all kids in Minneapolis and St. Paul graduating high school on time and then obtaining a post-secondary degree or certificate no more than a half-dozen years later.

Minnesota's Black-White achievement gap extends well beyond the state's high schools into its post-secondary schools, a 2010 report shows.

"As policymakers over the past decade focused on closing the achievement gap between white students and underrepresented minorities, another rift was widening: the gap between Asian American students and everyone else.

A new study from the Center on Education Policy underscores how significantly Asian American students outpace their peers, particularly in Maryland and Virginia."

The article argues that "if racial equality is America's goal, reducing the black-white test score gap would probably do more to promote this goal than any other strategy that could command broad political support. Reducing the test score gap is probably both necessary and sufficient for substantially reducing racial inequality in educational attainment and...

"Asian-Americans, a small but fast-growing demographic, today hold a purchasing power of $718 billion, surging toward $1 trillion in just five years, a recent Nielsen report has found."

"The fastest-growing U.S. demographic group is highly educated, relatively affluent and, politically, increasingly Democratic."

"A north Minneapolis school at Olson Memorial Hwy. and Humboldt Avenue has demographics that seem a sure predictor of our state's most intractable education problem. The student population there is 99 percent black and 91 percent poor, and about 70 percent of the children come from single-parent families.

Such 'racial isolation' is widely considered a formula for defeat—a hallmark of...

"What needs to be done to improve black education? Whether it's civil rights organizations, politicians or the education establishment, you'll get answers that cover the gamut from more money for teachers and smaller class sizes to school desegregation and racial preferences in higher education. Despite these claims, there's no evidence whatsoever that these are...

In an experiment aimed to raise achievement in America's public schools, 11 school districts across five states -- Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee -- will be extending their class time learning by at least 300 hours, starting in 2013.

"[Bill] Cosby went where most educators would not even dream of going. They are terrified of demanding what are misleadingly called white, middle-class skills and values. But if we are to close the racial gap - if we truly want to leave no child behind - we will need to pull black and Latino kids into the norms of mainstream American society. With courage and...

For at least the past decade, there has been more than enough attention focused on Minnesota's student achievement gap.

Two decades, five factors. Two decades have passed since Barton wrote 'America's Smallest School: The Family.' He has estimated that about 90 percent of the difference in schools' proficiencies can be explained by five factors.

"Last year, when Minnesota asked for a federal waiver from compliance with No Child Left Behind’s failed accountability system, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius instead proposed instituting a system designed by the department. The Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR) [PDF] is a combination of scores quantifying proficiency, student growth, progress toward closing the achievement gap and...

"My current commentary piece over at Mackinac compares the black/white achievement gap across subjects and grades between the public and private sectors."

"[I]t is fanciful to think that if only they had better teachers, children will have high rates of success despite poor health including more frequent illness, more frequent iron deficiency anemia, lead poisoning, and asthma; greater family economic stress, including inadequate housing resulting in high rates of mobility, and living in unsafe neighborhoods with...

"The study is important because it's the first large-scale look at the college completion rate for students in schools at the leading edge of today's reform efforts. The results show that while KIPP graduates—who are 95 percent African-American and Latino and overwhelmingly low-income—far outpace the national averages for similar students, they also fall short of the network's own goals: 33...

Since the publication of the English edition in 1970, Pedagogy of the Oppressed has achieved near-iconic status in America’s teacher-training programs. In 2003, David Steiner and Susan Rozen published a study examining the curricula of 16 schools of education—14 of them among the top-ranked institutions in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report—and found that ...

"Many do-gooders and race hustlers insist that the black-white achievement gap in the US today is the product of racism.  But how do you explain black students' stellar performance during Jim Crow?"

In her critique, Eaton fails to respond to—or even acknowledge—my 125-page report’s central arguments about the racial achievement gap in Minnesota schools and the flawed solutions proposed by four prominent state education organizations.

In light of these facts, Minnesotans may be astonished to learn that many of our state's school administrators have embraced the extraordinary notion that white teachers are primarily to blame for the racial learning gap.

"Would getting rid of tracking help? It's doubtful. The best research has found that tracking has no significant effect on achievement. As James A. Kulik of the University of Michigan has demonstrated, the best results come when curriculum is tailored to different levels, targeting the academic deficiencies of low-performing students and...

"Decades of research shows that kids with reading problems need phonics-based instruction. Why aren’t educators listening?"

"Flynn brought world attention to the intriguing fact that IQ test scores rose steadily and rather dramatically throughout much of the Twentieth Century, at least in those countries for which we have good data. Years back, he interpreted such inexplicable increases as evidence that IQ tests must surely be flawed. Now he seems to accept unquestioningly their power...

Reading and test scores among Minnesota students remain relatively flat over previous years, according to data released today by the state Department of Education.

"Elementary and middle schools across Minnesota saw a sharp dip in scores on the statewide math tests this year, a drop that educators chalk up to a tougher exam that students took for the first time.

Schools got better news from the reading tests, where student performance improved slightly."

"Why aren't African-Americans achieving all that they could? American blacks are twice as likely to be in poverty as non-blacks, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and they make nearly $5,000 a year less, on average. What exactly is standing in their way? That's not an easy question, but some compelling and controversial answers are coming from an unexpected...

"Achievement gaps between black and white high school students are discouraging but all too common facts of education life. It's well known that black students are less likely than their white peers to graduate from high school, and score lower on tests like the SAT and the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). Far less attention has been paid to gaps...

"Making matters worse is mounting evidence that America’s best students—kids we’re counting on to become those engineers, scientists, and mathematicians—have had a drop-off in academic performance over the past decade. A recent Thomas B. Fordham Institute study finds that the country’s highest-performing students in the early grades are losing some of that advantage as they move through...

"[T]he Departments of Education and Justice have launched a campaign against disproportionate minority discipline rates, which show up in virtually every school district with significant numbers of black and Hispanic students. The possibility that students’ behavior, not educators’ racism, drives those rates lies outside the Obama administration’s conceptual universe. But the country will pay...

This year, one-in-four public elementary school students is Latino, an indication that the young Latino population is growing quickly.

"To my mind, the key lesson and great shortcoming of A Nation at Risk was the understandable but unfortunate ease with which the commission accepted as a given the familiar institutions and practices of K-12 schooling.

Rather than ask why teacher colleges should hold a monopoly on teacher preparation, why technological...

Chart or Graph

"In the 2008-09 school year, African American students in Minneapolis failed to achieve high reading growth."

In the 2008-09 school year, white students in Minneapolis achieved high reading growth. The same year shows a different result for their African American counterparts.

This chart demonstrates the MCA-II reading proficiency gap between White and Hispanic students in various Minnesota school districts.

This chart demonstrates the MCA-II/MTELL math proficiency gap between White and Hispanic students in various Minnesota school districts. For Minneapolis, the proficiency gap is nearly 50%.

This chart demonstrates the MCA-II reading proficiency gap between White and African American students in various Minnesota school districts. For Minneapolis, the proficiency gap is over 50%.

"Average ACT Composite scores for American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American/Pacific Islander, and White graduates increased between 2006 and 2010."

"[T]he gap between students from rich and poor families is much more pronounced in the United States than in other OECD nations."

This chart shows the dramatic achievement gap between the various ethnicities in the Minneapolis Public Schools.

In 2011, Caucasian students achieved an 89.8 proficiency rate on reading, while African American students achieved a 54 proficiency rate.

Black-White Mathematics Achievement Gap by State, Grade 4

In 35 states, both Black students and White students achieved higher average scores in mathematics from 1992 to 2007.

Black-White Reading Achievement Gap by State, Grade 4

Nine states had a Black-White [reading] gap that was smaller than the nation’s 26-point gap in 2007.

"Comparing Figure 4 with the federal spending per pupil trend shown in Figure 2, there seems to be little support for the hypothesis that federal efforts have narrowed the black/white reading gap."

In 2012, 84% of Americans believed the achievement gap could be closed while maintaining high standards for all children.

"Between 1998 and 2002, the average score for black students increased by 12 points from 192 to 204. In Florida, it increased by 25 points—twice the gains of the national average."

In order to compare how the various student subgroups performed in 2009, we calculated the median percentages across all states with sufficient data of 8th grade students in each subgroup reaching the three achievement levels.

In 2012, 87% of those surveyed said it was very/somewhat important to close the achievement gap.

In 2012, 97% of Americans said it was important to improve the nation's urban schools.

KIPP students start and finish college at higher rates than the U.S. average. But we are far from our goal.

"Released in January 2006 by the American Institutes for Research, the study assessed the literacy of 1,827 graduating seniors from 80 randomly-selected 2- and 4-year colleges and universities."

"Percentage of 3rd grade students that meet or exceed proficiency on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA-II) reading exam..., given in the spring."

This chart graphs some of the education disparities that children and parents experience in the city of Minneapolis.

"These [Minneapolis] graduation rates show what percentage of students who began 9th grade stayed on track and earned a diploma four years later. ..."

Math and Reading proficiency gaps between various racial backgrounds in the Minneapolis school district.

"The Minneapolis Beginning of Kindergarten Assessment is a 15-minute standardized assessment of reading and numerical skills administered in the fall of each year with all incoming kindergarteners.

"Figure 1 above demonstrates that busing for racial balance in Minneapolis did not reduce the achievement gap in the 14 years between 1982 and 1996."

In 2011, every demographic category in the Minneapolis school district except for White students failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in math and reading.

Between the 2006-07 and the 2008-09 school year, Minneapolis Asian and White student math progress decreased.

Number of public high school-level teachers who reported a particular main assignment and the percentage with a major and certification in that main assignment, by subject of main assignment: 2007–08

The chart visually breaks-down graduation rates between the top bottom U.S. income quartiles. Only 8% of students in the bottom 25% graduate from a 4-year college by age 24.

"Graduates from most racial/ethnic groups were most likely to meet the English Benchmark, followed in order by the Reading, Mathematics, and Science Benchmarks."

This chart divides Minneapolis kindergarteners by race in order to depict their total literacy after their first year of school.

According to this chart, the achievement gap in terms of reading proficiency between white and minority students in Minneapolis public schools is at least 30 percentage points.

"The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a respected international comparison of 15-year-olds by the OECD that measures 'real-world' (applied) learning and problem-solving ability."

Figure 1, which plots the underlying relationship between popularity and achievement, shows large differences among whites, blacks, and Hispanics.

"[F]igure 1 shows that difference in graduation rates between African American males and White males may predict future outcomes like employment status. These policies should be derived from a framework that is (1) data-driven, (2) innovative, (3) and produces sustainable outcomes."

Since the National Assessment of Educational Progress began measuring student performance in 1971, reading scores have remained persistently flat--despite massive increases in educational spending and lower teacher-student ratios.

"[T]he research base for the Obama administration’s claim that minority students receive harsher punishment than whites for 'the same or similar infractions' is laughably weak."

"The overall improvement in mathematics for 9-year-olds was also seen in the results for both male and female students."

"The overall improvement in reading for 9-year-olds was also seen in the results for both male and female students."

"At age 9, the average mathematics score increased from 2004 to 2008 for White students but showed no significant change for Black students."

Trend in White - Black NAEP reading average scores and score gaps for 9, 13 and 17-year-old students

Trend in White - Hispanic NAEP mathematics average scores and score gaps for 9, 13 and 17-year-old students

Trend in White - Hispanic NAEP reading average scores and score gaps for 9, 13 and 17-year-old students

In 2012, 62% of those surveyed said they'd be willing to pay more in taxes to improve the nation's urban schools, down slightly from 66% in 1998.

Analysis Report White Paper

One out of every six public school students in the U.S. is African American. The achievement of African American students as a group will have a significant impact on the nation’s economic strength and social well-being. This brief looks at the performance of African American students on state reading and mathematics tests.

"I can also be precise about what I mean by acting white: a set of social interactions in which minority adolescents who get good grades in school enjoy less social popularity than white students who do well academically. My analysis confirms that acting white is a vexing reality within a subset of American schools."

"This report updates the May 2012 report on AYP Results for 2010-11 to include AYP data from the Consolidated State Performance Reports from the U.S. Department of Education. Several numbers have changed as a result of the new data. The estimated percentage of all public schools in the nation that did not make AYP for 2011 was 48%, an all-time high and an increase from 39% in 2010. The report...

The adoption of the Common Core State Standards by nearly all the states, combined with tough literacy assessments that are now in the offing, will soon reveal that literacy skills of average students fall below international standards and that the gap in literacy skills between students from advantaged and disadvantaged families is huge.

"This article empirically estimates the effect of judicial intervention on student achievement using standardized test scores and graduation rates in 48 states from 1992 to 2005. We find no evidence that court-ordered school spending improves student achievement."

This study begins by identifying a variety of other gender differences. There is a small but significant difference in the course grades of males and females. Males and females have significantly different prior understandings of physics and mathematics. Females are less likely to take high school physics than males, although they are equally likely to take high school calculus.

"The authors conclude that Title I has failed to produce any significant increase in test scores or to narrow achievement gaps between the scores of low- and high-income students and schools."

An education gap between white students and their black and Hispanic peers is something to which most Americans have become accustomed. But this racial division of education—and hence of prospects for the future— is nothing less than tragic. The good news is that the racial divide in learning is a problem that can be fixed.

"Understanding peer effects is critical to evaluating the effect of public school segregation on the achievement gap. This paper develops a new approach to identifying the effect of peer behavior on achievement, using a framework that integrates previously unexplored types of heterogeneity in peer spillovers."

This new American Experiment symposium grows out of a book of mine, From Family Collapse to America’s Decline: The Educational, Economic, and Social Costs of Family Fragmentation, which examined many of the problems and shortcomings resulting from very high rates of nonmarital births, very high rates of divorce, and routinely short-lived cohabiting relationships.

This brief explores the pitfalls in gauging gaps simplistically and suggests four ways to gain a more sophisticated, comprehensive, and accurate picture. It then illustrates these approaches using data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to show how some states are making progress in closing gaps—and others are not.

"This study compares graduation rates of students in Milwaukee who use vouchers to attend private high schools with those who attend public high schools."

"No matter how well teachers are prepared to teach, no matter what accountability measures are put in place, no matter what governing structures are established for schools, educational progress will be profoundly limited if students are not motivated and able to learn."

"This paper describes characteristics and academic policies of three low income elementary schools in the Los Angeles area whose students are unusually successful in mathematics. Barriers to high achievement in mathematics that exist for a large number of schools in Los Angeles are also identified and discussed."

Results from the 44th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools show that Americans have a number of conflicting and hardening viewpoints in their appraisal of and preferences for directing, managing, and investing in the schools

"The fast-growing Latino student population will shape the nation’s future, so it is critical that these students are well-prepared for college, careers, and civic participation. This brief looks at the performance of Latino students on state reading and mathematics tests and considers the policy implications of achievement trends for this group."

We examine charter schools across the quality spectrum in order to learn which practices separate high-achieving from low-achieving schools. An expansive data collection and analysis project in New York City charter schools yielded an index of five educational practices that explains nearly half of the difference between high- and low-performing schools.

"Lost Opportunity is … galvanizing call for philanthropic partners, our grantees, and grassroots, grasstops and netroots advocates to organize to build a public will movement to strengthen our democracy, economy, communities and become better global citizens by guaranteeing that all students have a fair and substantive opportunity to learn."

As the landscape changes in the state and in the nation, there is a need to be proactive in supporting policies and initiatives that aim to erase the educational achievement gap that exists between African American males and the broader population.

This piece offers a collection of graphs which show the 2008-2010 achievement gaps for various districts around the state of Minnesota. The Minneapolis school district often stands out from the rest of the districts, unfortunately for undesirable reasons.

"The estimates strongly indicate that a higher percentage of black schoolmates reduces achievement for blacks, while it implies a much smaller and generally insignificant effect on whites. These results suggest that existing levels of segregation in Texas explain a small but meaningful portion of the racial achievement gap."

"This baseline data report is designed to be used by The Minneapolis Foundation staff as well as board members, community leaders, and policy makers to learn more about the areas of education, economic vitality, and social capital for the city of Minneapolis, based upon key indicators."

Our national obsession with the achievement gap has led to rhetoric and platitudes but also a compromising rigor and educational standards. Many so-called reforms are counterproductive and ignore real costs and consequences.

"Minnesota’s continued democratic vitality and economic health will depend in large measure on our ability to put in place education reforms that will help poor, minority children boost their performance in school."

Asian American students, who comprise almost 5% of public school students in the U.S., are a very diverse group. In the aggregate, Asian Americans often have the highest achievement on state tests among major racial/ethnic subgroups.

"The Follow Through project was the largest, most expensive educational experiment ever conducted. This federal program was originally designed to be a service-oriented project similar to Head Start. However, because of funding cutbacks the emphasis was shifted from service to program evaluation.

This report misrepresents and then criticizes recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Education, a think tank and two independent study groups, each of which recently encouraged particular voluntary efforts to reduce concentrated poverty and achieve racial and socioeconomic integration in schools and housing in Minnesota.

"However, the combination of a public system with a private school market yields the least residential segregation as housing price distortions from the capitalization of the public system generate incentives for middle and high income private school attendees to live with lower income public school attendees."

"The majority of the expansion of the achievement gap with age occurs between rather than within schools, and specific school and peer factors exert a significant effect on the growth in the achievement gap."

The MMEP focuses on "systemic" reasons for Minnesota's achievement gap.

A problem does exist at grade 8 for subgroups of students at the advanced achievement level.

"Grouping and tracking do not increase overall achievements in schools, but they do promote inequity, research suggests. To reduce inequality, we should decrease the use of both practices, and, where ability grouping is retained, improve its use."

"This report discusses trends in the gap between Black and White educational attainment, school achievement, and contextual factors from the beginning of the 20th century to the present time."

"Using ACT test scores and the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, this report provides a snapshot of college readiness of the graduating seniors of the class of 2010 who took the ACT in high school."

The aim of this paper is to provide a common, neutral fact base on each of these achievement gaps and to illustrate their relative magnitude. In addition, we highlight the impact of the United States achievement gap on the overall economy and on individual life outcomes.

"The quest for esoteric methods of trying to educate these children proceeds as if such children had never been successfully educated before, when in fact there are concrete examples, both from history and from our own times, of schools that have been successful in educating children from low-income families and from minority families."

"The gains from Catholic schooling are modest for urban whites and negligible for suburban students. Related analyses suggest that urban minorities benefit greatly from access to Catholic schooling primarily because the public schools available to them are quite poor."

The Promise of College Completion: KIPP’s Early Successes and Challenges reports the college outcomes for our earliest KIPP students. It also examines our early lessons learned in supporting KIPP students through college, and shares the ways we are addressing the challenges of college completion.

"Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States."

The achievement gap between children from high- and low- income families is roughly 30 to 40 percent larger among children born in 2001 than among those born twenty-five years earlier. In fact, it appears that the income achievement gap has been growing for at least fifty years.

"Results indicate that while more females are participating in Advanced Placement science and mathematics they are not performing to the levels of their male counterparts. This performance gap presents a real obstacle for females as they prepare to enter college and later compete for jobs in these fields after graduation."

"At a time when every hour counts, the dropout rates and educational experiences of female students cannot be ignored. This report therefore focuses on female students who do not complete high school."

"While there have been numerous studies that attempt to measure the effect of ability grouping on students, there have been comparatively few studies that analyze which factors cause schools to decide to group their students."


Paul Peterson discusses the profound importance of reducing achievement gaps in communities like the Twin Cities – where they’re larger than virtually anyplace in the nation. What’s been tried? What needs trying next?

"Ronald F. Ferguson PhD has taught at the Kennedy School since 1983, as well as a participating as a senior research associate at Harvard's Wiener Center for Social Policy Research. He has also taught at MIT, Brandeis, and Brown Universities. Dr. Ferguson's publications cover issues in education policy, youth development programming, community development, economic...

"Leading researchers from Vanderbilt University's Peabody College and other educational thought leaders share real world strategies with educators in hopes of closing the widening chasm that does not permit equitable education for children of various racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds."

The racial achievement gap in American schools has significant implications for the US economy and society. This McKinsey forum talks about the costs of an education system that traps groups of Americans in poverty.

The racial achievement gap in American schools has significant implications for the US economy and society. This McKinsey forum talks about the costs of an education system that traps groups of Americans in poverty.

"Donna Ford, professor of special education at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College of Education and Human Development, discusses what is needed to close the achievement gap between white and black students and her research with gifted black youth."

Minnesota is among the worst states when it comes to achievement gaps in our schools. Poor students lag far behind their counterparts, but three grants aim to help change that.

"Governor Mark Dayton announces his appointments to the Early Learning Council and talks about Minnesota's application for federal funds to help close the achievement gap."

"The racial achievement gap in American schools has significant implications for the US economy and society. Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, Joel Klein talks about the costs of an education system that traps groups of Americans in poverty in this McKinsey forum."

"The co-authors discussed their book, No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning, published by Simon and Schuster. The book examines the impact of Title I, Head Start, and other education programs and reforms on minority achievement. According to the authors, many conventional solutions for improving schools, including increasing funding and decreasing...

Think Together, a California non-profit, puts forth a series of alarming statistics in this short video on the impact of the achievement gap.

"Recent Harvard research has revealed that Harlem Children's Zone, an organization that attempts to strengthen education and redirect historically low-achieving minority children from poverty, has had success in reducing the achievement gap. Founder of Harlem Children's Zone Geoffrey Canada explains the success of the program and the possibility for such a program...

Primary Document

One of the most widely cited reports on education reform, "A Nation at Risk" describes the declining academic rates and standards that were prevalent in the early 1980s. "A Nation at Risk" bemoans the fact that...

This piece offers a variety of graphs which chart the racial achievement gaps between students in Minneapolis public schools.

In 2007, mathematics scores for both Black and White public school students in grades 4 and 8 nationwide, as measured by the main NAEP assessments of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), were higher than in any previous assessment, going back to 1990.

President Barack Obama speaks on education reform, funding, and the flaws of No Child Left Behind.

President Clinton calls on Congress to pass the Educational Excellence for All Children Act of 1999 and re-authorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) and other elementary and secondary education programs.

President Clinton speaks on efforts to improve education for Hispanic students. He cites the Hispanic Education Action Plan and calls for doubling funds.

In all probability, "Brown v. Board of Education" is the most well-known Supreme Court case regarding education matters in the twentieth century. This decision abolished segregation in America’s schools by declaring that "Segregation of white and Negro children in the public...

The text of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This bill was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson as part of his "Great Society" legislative program. This law outlawed occupational discrimination and public segregation on the basis of race.

"This report examines the postsecondary majors and teaching certifications of public high school-level teachers of departmentalized classes ... in a selection of subject areas by using data from the 2007–08 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), a sample survey of elementary and secondary schools in the United States. SASS collects data on American public, private, and Bureau of Indian Education...

"An Act To strengthen and improve educational quality and educational opportunities [H. R. 2362] in the Nation's elementary and secondary schools."

"The Equality of Educational Opportunity Study (EEOS), also known as the 'Coleman Study,' was commissioned by the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1966 to assess the availability of equal educational opportunities to children of different race, color, religion, and national origin. This study was conducted in response to provisions of...

"I’m here today to share our ideas about how the Legislature should deal with three education issues in the current session.

One involves steps to immediately address the achievement gap.

The second is a plan for performance reviews of teachers that will make our strong teaching profession even stronger.

And the third is a responsible plan to create alternative pathways...

President George W. Bush acknowledges Black History Month by speaking about culture, education, and strong families.

President George W. Bush gives a speech on raising national educational standards as a follow up to No Child Left Behind.

Governor Pawlenty's 2005 address frames the political conditions in Minnesota and proposes several major state educational reforms, including more school funding and teacher performance compensation.

This report documents the Minneapolis Public School district's Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

"This report presents the results of the NAEP long-term trend assessments in reading and mathematics, which were most recently given in the 2007–08 school year to students at ages 9, 13, and 17. Nationally representative samples of over 26,000 public and private school students were assessed in each subject area."

Described as "An Act To strengthen the national defense and to encourage and assist in the expansion and improvement of educational programs to meet critical national needs; and for other purposes," this document provided a variety of federal funds for...

No Child Left Behind is a descendant of "The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965." Its opening lines describe it as "An Act [t]o close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left behind."

"On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), historic legislation designed to stimulate the economy, support job creation, and invest in critical sectors, including education. The ARRA lays the foundation for education reform by supporting investments in innovative strategies that are most likely to lead to improved results...

The proposed bill's mission is "[t]o recruit, support, and prepare principals to improve student academic achievement at high-need schools."

There is little to show for the $2 trillion the federal government has spent on education in the past 50 years. Coulson explains a series of graphs that that display stagnant student results and federal spending concerns.



This FAQ provides some background on education in Minnesota, which in turn will help one to understand today's state of education.



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Education history in America is important to know. ITO traces how education has changed from the colonial period to present day America.
At Intellectual Takeout, we think it's about time freedom went viral. Before our generation is the opportunity to embrace freedom, to unleash each individual's potential, and to have a prosperous future. And yet it seems that almost everyone running our cities, states, and federal government is intent on destroying freedom and burying us in debt to pay for it. If you, like us, believe that...
In the genre of documentaries revealing the problems with public education, "Kids Aren't Cars" focuses on helping us understand how schools are modeled after a factory system and what we need to do to change them. Understandably, treating kids as if they are a product to be manufactured has had detrimental effects on children going through the system and the overall level of education in America...
"Many parents and taxpayers feel helpless because the problems can seem so monumental. 'Kids Aren't Cars' director Kyle Olson reviews what he learned in the filmmaking process and the small things individuals can do that will add up to make a big difference." Here's Kyle being interviewed on a few things you can do and share with friends, family, and educators: Part 1Part 2
We all know Facebook is awesome for keeping up with friends, sharing about your life, and even distributing ideas. One great new way to get people thinking is to take advantage of the new banner profile with the help of Intellectual Takeout. Here's what one of our banners looks like loaded up on a Facebook profile: If you haven't changed your banner profile, than Facebook is likely ...
Tired of business getting a bum rap? We are, too. Here's your chance to share on Facebook the good news that business is good, beautiful, and makes life better.
While many documentaries on the education system focus on various examples of failure, "Flunked" takes a bit different tack. While certainly acknowledging and exposing the failures of the system, "Flunked" also seeks out individuals and approaches that ARE working in education. The hope is that these points of hope may serve as examples for others working in education.  Here's the trailer:...
Okay, so your friends and family keep telling you to jump on the social media bandwagon, but you have no idea what the fuzz is about. Here’s the deal: The Internet gives liberty-loving folk like us an opportunity we have never had before: to make the case for individual liberty, limited government and free market economics instantly and globally. But with the vast amounts of information...


Looking for an internship? If so, Intellectual Takeout has an opportunity for you. We have plenty of work to do as well as ideas to spread, and we need your help to get it done. If you're interested in an internship with Intellectual Takeout, you likely share our passion and you're excited about the possibility of working for a great cause. That said, you might have a few questions about what "...
The Association of American Educators (AAE) advances the teaching profession through personal growth, professional development, teacher advocacy and protection, as well as promoting excellence in education so that our members receive the respect, recognition and reward they deserve.
Are you concerned your child isn't getting the education necessary to compete in the global economy or even, perhaps, to carry on the lessons and learning of Western Civilization? If so, you have a number of choices. You could, of course, consider changing schools to a charter school, private school, or even homeschooling. If that's overwhelming for you right now, you can always supplement your...
Curiously, not a few individuals are realizing that their education (K-12 and even college) neglected to provide them with as much understanding of the world as they would like. At Intellectual Takeout, we believe that however you feel about your education, there is still much to be learned. To that end, we'd like to refer you to one book and a collection of "study guides" that serve as...
Sure, the idea of homeschooling is likely overwhelming. Indeed, homeschooling is a big commitment and a lot of work. That said, there's a reason why more and more parents are turning to homeschooling as the best option for their child(ren)'s education(s). Perhaps you are starting to realize that the public school system has changed a lot since you last attended it. Maybe you can't afford private...
Know your rights with Flex Your Rights guide to the "10 Rules for Dealing with Police."
In a highly regulated society such as ours, it's very easy to get yourself in trouble with the law. Learn more about how to protect yourself with the 5th Amendment and how to interact with the police.
Let's face it, most of us love to watch TV and movies. A wonderful way to spread ideas is to embrace our love of the cinema by hosting a movie night with friends and family.  There are numerous documentaries that do a fantastic job of sharing the ideas of liberty. You can pull a small group of friends together at your house or even consider asking a local restaurant or tavern to let you...
Watch "Waiting for Superman" to learn about the problems with the public education system.
Another movie that tells the story of the failing public school model in the United States is “The Lottery”. It takes its own unique look at the systems by focusing on the use of lotteries to choose which children will be plucked from failing public schools and put into more successful public charter schools. Here’s the trailer:  You can watch the whole movie right now with the help of Hulu...
While there are a variety of really good documentaries about the failing public school systems in America, "The Cartel" stands alone in its frontal assault on the teacher unions, particularly those in New Jersey. If you'd like to get an inside look into how some teacher unions operate and the effects they have on education, you'll want to watch "The Cartel."From the movie's website: "This movie...
How often do you hear conservatives being called a bunch of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals? Here's the reality: Conservatism, classical liberalism, and libertarianism have a rich, intellectual heritage reaching back many millennia. Our ideas are not just some historical relics from bygone eras; they are the very foundation of Western Civilization in general, amd the United States in particular....
Sadly (or happily for some), life goes on after college. So does the fight for freedom. Building friendships, networking, and growing the movement is critical after college. If our ideas are to be preserved and promoted, you need to stay involved. Plus, in a time when the individual seems to be ever more isolated and adrift, these groups can help plug you into social networks you can use....
Okay, so we don't expect you to drive a wooden stake into your flat screen. Plus, we're total hypocrites since we watch some TV. But here's the point: People waste a ton of time watching TV. If you're cool with government taking over your future, than keep watching Dancing with the Stars. If you consider yourself to be a free man or woman and want to live in a free society, then watch what you...
A great way to make a difference on your campus by spreading the ideas of individual rights, limited government, and free markets is to tutor. Plus, you can occasionally make a little bit of money. Depending on the subject matter, you will be discussing a variety of ideas, key thinkers, and theories. As anyone who has tutored knows, there are almost always opportunities to expand upon a topic....

On Campus

We've built Intellectual Takeout to provide you with quick, easy access to information. In time, we hope to become your one-stop-shop for the ideas of freedom. If your professor allows you to bring your laptop to class (if not, you can use an iPhone), we recommend keeping a tab open to Intellectual Takeout. As we continue to generate new content on the site, you will be able to fact check the...
When it comes to campus life injustices, student fees rank high on any list. On most campuses across the country a mandatory student fee is assessed to each student at the beginning of the year. A portion of this fee, which may be several hundred dollars, will go toward funding various political, religious, and interest groups.  A college requiring you to support groups espousing ideas which...
If you're not happy with the direction of the country and you want to take back your future, at some point you will have to do something. It's not enough to just know that we're going in the wrong direction. You actually have to step out and get involved. Most college campuses have conservative and libertarian student groups. Find one of them to join. Below is a list of some of the larger non-...
Now that you're at college and the initial excitement has worn off, maybe you're thinking that the course selection is a bit biased and you'd like some options. So how do you (the consumer) get the college (the business) to change up its offerings? It certainly won't be easy. Nevertheless it's something that should be done--particularly since you're footing the bill. A good, education in a free...
Whatever activism you choose to do on campus, you need to get your story out. A popular tactic used by the Left is to isolate and intimidate freedom-loving students. You're not alone and there are a lot of people in your city, state, and country that can probably support your efforts. They just need to know what is happening. Whenever you can, record in-class bias, discrimination against...
The reality is that most students (and people for that matter) won't speak out. It's called human nature and it was recognized in the Declaration of Independence: "...all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." While you might feel alone when debating a teacher,...
In the land of the free and the home of the brave, speech codes are a particularly odious example of politically correct repression on many a college campus. In some ways, college campuses are the least free places for thinking and speech in America. Your best friend for fighting your school's repressive speech codes is the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Here's a short clip...
Running for office isn't easy, even in college. Not everyone is cut out for it, either. For those of you who are, this completely non-partisan section is for you. If you are inclined to pursue student government, we're not going to spend time on telling you how to get elected. A good place to go for ideas and training is Rather, we want to help you in office, as a believer in...