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Stats That Stick: November 2, 2011

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November 02, 2011 09:01 pm

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Here are this week’s Stats That Stick courtesy of our policy intern, Bill DeBaun:

Percentage of eighth graders reading below the basic level on the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card: 24%

Number of points, on average, that fourth and eighth graders improved in math on the 2011 NAEP over the 2009 NAEP: 1
The Washington Times reports on yesterday’s release of the 2011 NAEP results. The 1-point increase in 2011’s results over 2009 is modest but also represents a 20-point increase since 1990, when math was first administered on the “Nation’s Report Card.” Forty percent of fourth graders and 35 percent of eight graders reached proficiency in math in 2011.

Difference between the nation’s fourth-grade NAEP reading scores in 2009 and 2011: 0 points
The same article from Washington Times highlights that reading scores for fourth graders were unchanged from two years ago. Eighth graders improved by 1 point in 2011 over 2009. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan noted, “The modest increases in NAEP scores are reason for concern as much as optimism. It’s clear that achievement is not accelerating fast enough for our nation’s children to compete in the knowledge economy of the 21st century.”

Percentage of voters against Colorado Proposition 103, which would raise statewide income and sales taxes for five years to revive the state’s schools: 65% (with 59% of the vote counted)
CBS News reports on the likely demise of the measure, which was petitioned onto this year’s ballot. If voters had approved the measure, an estimated $2.9 billion would have been raised for K-12 education and the state’s public colleges and universities.

Amount of tomato paste that will no longer be considered a vegetable under federally financed school lunch programs: 1/4 cup
The New York Times explores new guidelines from the Department of Agriculture intended to reduce childhood obesity, which is on the rise. The guidelines have drawn criticism from some food companies, who argue that the guidelines are too restrictive and will raise the cost of meals. The guidelines have also drawn praise from nutritionists who argue that schools’ potato-rich diets are “responsible for many of the nation’s health problems.”

Percentage of foster kids who don’t graduate from high school, according to a 2010 study from the University of Chicago: 50%
The Associated Press reports via Education Week that 50 percent of the nation’s half million foster children won’t graduate from high school.

Length of time that you extend your school day by that will earn you financial incentives if you’re a Chicago charter school: 90 minutes
The Chicago Tribune reports through Education Week that the Chicago Board of Education has approved a program that will make 42 charter schools eligible for $75,000 grants for extending their school days. These 42 schools are those that don’t currently keep their students in class longer than traditional public schools. The financial incentives could also include $800 stipends for teachers. The program, is intended to keep children in school longer in an effort to close the achievement gap between at-risk student groups and their peers.

Number of GOP presidential candidates who called for a diminished federal role in schools last week: 4
The Huffington Post covers last week’s Education and Election 2012 Presidential Forum, hosted by the College Board and News Corporation. Each of the four candidates (Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Rep. Michele Bachmann) brought a different perspective about what they would like to see the federal government doing in education.

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