October 24 (Boston) - Today, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released the first comprehensive look at student learning in districts and states across the country since 2019—an utterly different time in American public schooling. As anticipated based on smaller-scale analyses released since the beginning of the pandemic, the results are dire.
In Boston, math scores declined even more steeply than at the national level, dropping seven points for fourth graders and nine points for eighth graders. Reading score declines were on par with national drops, falling three points for fourth graders and two for eighth graders. Massachusetts saw slightly steeper declines than Boston on all assessments except fourth-grade math.
The reductions in reading and math scores in Boston reflect widening gaps for students already facing inequities; across the board, Black students saw the steepest declines, followed by Hispanic and female students. Meanwhile, white students primarily saw increases in their performance, except for eighth-grade math, where all students experienced steep declines.
“These results echo what we’ve been hearing directly from educators for the past two years,” said Lisa Lazare, Executive Director of Educators for Excellence-Boston. “They highlight the learning loss educators have been concerned with and stated in our Voices from the Classroom survey. Specifically, 67 percent of Boston teachers reported that their students are further behind where they were before the pandemic, and 73 percent of BPS teachers reported that their students' mental health is worse than before the pandemic.”
Today's NAEP results demand the attention of education leaders in Boston, Massachusetts, and across the country, informed by the voices of educators. The pandemic exacerbated longstanding problems in America's public education system, and educators across the country know we cannot return to the status quo. This is why Educators for Excellence-Boston seeks to uplift teacher voice through its work on the ground in schools on a daily basis, with a particular focus on teacher diversity, advocating for the Racially and Culturally Inclusive K-12 Curriculum Act, and supporting initiatives to develop processes to vet and recommend curricula that serve the needs of all students, all of which help move the needle toward improved student outcomes.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought America’s public schools into crisis. Innovation, with teachers at the forefront, must bring them out.
About Educators for Excellence
Founded by public school teachers, Educators for Excellence is a growing movement of more than 33,000 educators, united around a common set of values and principles for improving student learning and elevating the teaching profession. We work together to identify issues that impact our schools, create solutions to these challenges, and advocate for policies and programs that give all students access to quality education.
For more information, please visit e4e.org.