The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics collects and reports data about US children and their families. Their annual report, “America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, provides the Nation with a summary of national indicators of child well-being and monitors changes in these indicators over time.” (Childstats.gov)
The Forum annual report for 2011 includes a comparison of achievement scores in math and reading from 1990 through 2009. The summary analysis is that math scores for all students in all subgroups have improved every year since 1990 with few exceptions. Reading scores have remained basically flat.
Where there is crisis in our nation’s schools it is a crisis of equity and a crisis of confidence. There are growing inequities in our schools that reflect the growing gap between rich and poor in our country. The current high unemployment rate and the lopsided recovery we are experiencing allow politicians to turn disgruntled voters against their own civil servants.
This New York Times opinion from 2008 does a good job of contextualizing the periodic, groundless panic the media stirs up about our schools.
There are many things we must re-examine about our education system. Training our students to score better on standardized tests is not one of them.