If you find declining reading scores spooky scary, this one’s for you.
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Reading scores are down in many states
We published our own reporter Hannah Furfaro’s Washington-focused analysis of new national test scores. For more national context, read this piece by Erica L. Green and Dana Goldstein at The New York Times. They called the results “dismal,” and reported that average eighth-grade reading scores declined in more than half of all states. They contrasted Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ reaction (she called the results “America’s wake-up call,” saying they suggested the need for more school choice) with the education rhetoric among Democratic presidential primary candidates (which has emphasized slowing charter-school growth).
The Boston Globe launched a new investigative team to cover educational equity, led by ed journalism veteran Sarah Carr. In a letter Carr published on Tuesday, she introduced the team and its mission, which includes “root(ing) our reporting in the lives and experiences of some of the most marginalized members of our community,” experimenting with format, getting creative with data and aiming “to write stories that expose injustice and have the potential to engender change.” Sounds like they’ll be looking at impact, too, same as Ed Lab. There’s also a newsletter that promises to examine “both the challenges and possible solutions to creating equal opportunity for all students.”
The effects of Texas’ special-education cap
Three years after the Houston Chronicle exposed Texas’ cap on how many students can receive special-education services, researchers at the University of California, Davis, and Cornell University released the first academic study on the topic. They write that Texas limited statewide special-education enrollment to 8.5%, leading to a 4.5 percentage point decline in enrollment over 10 years. They found that some students who lost out on services as a result of this policy were “52.2 percentage points less likely to graduate high school and 37.8 percentage points less likely to enroll in college.” (H/T to Seattle Times alum Brian M. Rosenthal’s Twitter for this one.)