New tests highlight education crisis in California – Press Telegram

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California has a plethora of crises that can be fairly described as existential.

We are acutely short of water, power and housing, our homelessness and poverty are among the worst in the country, and wildfires that are out of control destroy thousands of homes every year.

There is another crisis that threatens California’s future, not as obvious as the others, but potentially just as devastating — the shamefully low learning rates of the state’s nearly 6 million public school students.

Before COVID-19 hit and authorities closed schools to limit the spread of the deadly disease, California students largely failed to meet the state’s standards for skills needed for successful adulthood and performed poorly on statewide testing. This is especially true for the 60% of children who are classified as poor or “English language learners.”

On Monday, both the federal and state governments published the results of the latest testsshowing that the pandemic’s impromptu efforts to educate students who left home further reduced learning and widened an already severe “achievement gap.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Tony Thurmond, the state superintendent of schools, tried to play up the positive test results, saying in essence that the declines could have been worse, but glossing over them doesn’t change the fact that California has a serious education crisis that threatens to undermine its social and economic future.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results on 4thousand and 8thousandclassroom reading and math came in first, and California was once again among the lowest-performing states, 12thousand below and below the national average in all categories.

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