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Press Release

NAEP Scores Demand School Choice Now

Today, the National Center for Education Statistics released national achievement scores for fourth and eighth-graders. These scores are the first of their kind since the pandemic and highlight yet again what families across the country know: We are facing an educational crisis, and parents need options now.

In the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores, both eighth-grade and fourth-grade math scores showed their largest declines ever recorded, at eight and five points respectively. In reading, fourth-grade and eighth-grade scores dropped by three points, although the drop is far bigger in many states.

The American Federation for Children calls on every lawmaker to act to expand school choice as soon as possible so that parents trying to help their children catch up can have options for doing so.

Statement from Tommy Schultz, CEO of the American Federation for Children:

“The student testing data released on the Nation’s Report Card shows we aren’t a nation at risk – we are a nation in free fall. The news is outrageous but sadly not surprising. Anyone who has paid attention to the education system and the special interests that control it over the last few years knows that it has unacceptably failed. Countless children are being left behind. It’s past time to fund students, not the systems that keep failing them.”

  • These scores are in line with those released in September showing a 20-year low in nine-year-olds’ math and reading achievement.
  • Unlike other scores, these showed that drops affected students at all income levels.
  • This release revealed that the declines were larger and more pervasive in eighth-grade math, where scores were down in 49 of 50 states (all but Utah) and in DC.
  • The Black-white and Hispanic-white achievement gaps grew in fourth-grade math, which is a reversal of a long-term trend toward greater racial equity in NAEP results.
  • Catholic schools, which kept serving students consistently throughout the pandemic, showed no declines in fourth-grade math or eighth-grade reading.
  • Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are among the states with the steepest losses, with double-digit drops in most areas.


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