By Arne Duncan, a managing partner at the Emerson Collective, and former U.S. education secretary from 2009 to 2015.
Lately, a lot of people in Washington are saying that education reform hasn’t worked very well. Don’t believe it.
Since 1971, fourth-grade reading and math scores are up 13 points and 25 points, respectively. Eighth-grade reading and math scores are up eight points and 19 points, respectively. Every 10 points equates to about a year of learning, and much of the gains have been driven by students of color.
It should be noted that the student population is relatively poorer and considerably more diverse than in 1971. So, while today’s kids bring more learning challenges, they perform as much as 2½ grades higher than their counterparts from half a century ago.