U.S. Department of Education: 79% of Chicago 8th Graders Not Proficient in Reading

Terence P. Jeffrey, CNS News, September 10, 2012

Seventy-nine percent of the 8th graders in the Chicago Public Schools are not grade-level proficient in reading, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in math.

Chicago public school teachers went on strike on Monday and one of the major issues behind the strike is a new system Chicago plans to use for evaluating public school teachers in which student improvement on standardized tests will count for 40 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. Until now, the evaluations of Chicago public school teachers have been based on what a Chicago Sun Times editorial called a “meaningless checklist.”


With these NAEP test results, only 19 percent of Chicago public school 8thgraders rated proficient in reading while another 2 percent rated advanced—for a total of 21 percent who rated proficient or better.

79 percent of Chicago public school 8th graders were not grade-level proficient in reading. According to the U.S. Department of Education, this included 43 percent who rated “basic” and 36 percent who rated “below basic.”


With these NAEP test results, only 17 percent of Chicago public school 8th graders rated proficient in math while another 3 percent rated advanced—for a total of 20 percent who rated proficient or better.

Thus, 80 percent of Chicago public school 8th graders were not grade-level proficient in math. According to the U.S. Department of Education, this included 40 percent who rated “basic” in math and 40 percent who rated “below basic.”

[Editor’s Note: According to this website, Chicago Public Schools are 41.6% black, 44.1% Hispanic, and 8.8% white.]

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  • Puggg

    And how is this the fault of the teachers? Maybe one reason why the teachers are going on strike is that they’re getting tired of being blamed for their “dumb as hell” (see a recent AmRen story about teachers that used that very quote) students.

    • Defiant White

      Yes and no.  You’re not getting creatures with questionable parenting and an average IQ of 85 to be a rocket scientist.  But even a negro can be taught to read at the 8th Grade level.  Some popular titles on an 8th Grade reading level include:

      Harry Potter series
      Fahrenheit 451
      Chronicles of Narnia
      The Hunger Games
      The Hobbit
      The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

      Excerpt from “The Hunger Games:”

      “Effie Trinket askes for volunteers, but no one steps forward. He has two older brothers, I know, I’ve seen them in the bakery, but one is probably too old now to volunteer and the other won’t. This is standard. Family devotion only goes so far for most people on reaping day. What I did was the radical thing.”

      Even a negro should be able to read that after EIGHT YEARS of schooling!

      • IstvanIN

         Read?  Perhaps sound out some of the words.  Comprehend?  I doubt most of them could comprehend “The Little Engine that Could”, “The Pokey Little Puppy” or “Are You My Mommy?”.

      • Bon, From the Land of Babble

        Even a negro should be able to read that after EIGHT YEARS of schooling!Well, one would hope but unfortunately that is not the reality.What, after 50 years, have we not tried?  After sinking a trillion dollars into reading programs aimed at blacks which one has been successful?  Which one has taken average blacks (NOT A FEW THAT ARE PRE-SCREENED AND HAND PICKED) and raised them up to 8th grade reading levels?Do you think it is worth another trillion dollars to keep trying when we have 50 years of hard, empirical evidence that shows that nothing we’ve tried has worked? As. Dr. Jensen writes:  Where blacks fail is not in the decoding of written language, it is the comprehension of it.Look —  I know what it’s like to have to sit through hours and hours of tedious teachers’ professional development where reality — black IQ — is simply not acknowledged – the explanation for black failure simply cannot be low black IQ.BonLike

        • Defiant White

          I don’t think it’s just low IQ.  When you look at sub-Saharan Africa from let’s just say 1600 to 1800 . . . you see no written accumulation of information beyond very few, very rudimentary pieces here and there.  There is a notable lack of intellectual development, literature, poetry and academics. 

          You then pluck these creatures out of their natural habitat and bring them to a place where there is substantial intellectual development.  For the next hundred years, the creatures and their descendants are denied an opportunity to learn.  Finally, around the early 1900s some negroes here and there get a chance at schooling.

          My point is that culturally, the black has no appreciation or interest in intellectual development.  It just isn’t part of his world.  Whether  low IQ drives this non-involvement or whether the low involvement somehow drives the low IQ . . . I don’t know.

          The negro is a lost cause.  he comes from a world that doesn’t value academics.  It will take centuries . . . perhaps 10-15 generations more before the negro can equal the white.

          Do i think it’s worth it . . . me, personally?  No.  But I know dozens and dozens of progressives who think it’s the white man’s duty to try.  LOL  (But it’s a sad laugh.)

  • WmarkW

    This is the beginning of The End of “diversity” — contradictory interests of left-leaning groups (like teacher unions and urban public school parents) cannot be maintained, as the baby boomers stop filling government coffers and transition to consumers of government services.   A second Obama administration would actually hasten this end, as long 10 million illegal Hispanics aren’t made voters.   

    Obama can’t paper over the inherent contradictions between gays and black churches, illegal Hispanics and other low-skill blue collar workers, or working women with men displaced from traditionally male fields; just by making a teleprompter speech articulating what their commonalities are.   This is the difference between Obama and Bill Clinton — the latter had spent a career in politics balancing the interests of divergent groups and understood how to do it.   Electing Obama was the finale of diversity, in more ways than one.

    • Robert Binion

      I’m not sure.  Democrats will relate individual narratives of the downtrodden as agitprop in an effort to move the electorate along traditional lines of class, gender and region, while counting on media gatekeepers to portray the President as Dr. Kildare.  Of course, the pretty visuals and sappy stories won’t be worth a fig when the money runs out.

  • Defiant White

    Fire the lot of them.  If one student can’t read, it’s the parent’s fault.  If five can’t read, it’s the teacher’s fault.  If 50 can’t read, the school is at fault.  500 . . . the whole district has failed and the superintendent needs to go.  But when 80% aren’t proficient in the grade they’re supposed to be in, it’s time for a tactical nuke.

    • JohnEngelman

      You can’t teach stupid. 

  • Detroit_WASP

    I was in Chicago last fall and noticed the large number of private schools there.  As we were driving down the highway I counted 5 religious schools in about a 3 mile distance. 

    It is my understanding that they have forced busing and Chicago is still about 60% white, so the whites send all their kids to private schools.  I deduced this all on my own and an acquaintance who just moved from Chicago back to Detroit confirmed all of that.  

    • shmo123

       Sorry, Detroit, but you’re way off on your demographics. Chicago has barely half that number of whites:
      The racial makeup of the city in 2010 was 32.9% black, 31.4% white, 28.9% Hispanic of any race, 5.5% Asian, 0.5% Native American, and 2.7% from two or more races.[3]

  • Easyrhino1

    But the 8th graders can take apart and reassemble a Glock in under 30 seconds

    • The 2nd graders can deliver a lecture on female gynecology that would impress Masters & Johnson!!

    • Dr. X

      No. They can’t “take apart and reassemble a Glock in under 30 seconds.” (Heck, most cops are too stupid to do that). And they can’t afford Glocks anyway.

      What they CAN do is take a pig-iron Raven .25 (which probably doesn’t even work) and point it at the liquor store cashier’s head and then throw it in the bushes when the cops are chasing them. Or empty the cylinder on a rusted, stolen Iver Johnson .32 into a rival gangster before tossing that, too.

      They are NOT firearms proficient.

  • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

    “…only 19 percent of Chicago public school 8thgraders rated proficient in reading while another 2 percent rated advanced . . .”


    What about those  advanced students?  Why are advanced students so rare in urban public school systems? 

    On BookTV.org, in 2010 E. D. Hirsch Jr., [referring to a chart showing the average Verbal SAT score falling about 40 points from 1967 – 2002], pointed out: 

    “The absolute number of students who scored above 600 declined by 56 percent and the absolute number of students who scored above 650 declined by 73 percent. A sudden influx of black and Hispanic test-takers cannot explain why large numbers of college-bound middle-class white students suddenly became less proficient. That is what happened.”

    Hirsch is being cute.  Yes, he is correct. But it is a trivial point.  Yes, a “sudden influx of black and Hispanic TEST-TAKERS cannot explain the decline in verbal proficiency of white students. But a sudden influx of black and Hispanic STUDENTS  — 0ver that time span — into the learning environment of white students does provide a highly plausible explanation for the dramatic decline of white verbal proficiency.

    Hirsch could never say that, and hope to retain any status a public education reformer.  But it is glaringly obvious:  As America has become more diverse, far fewer whites are scoring above 600 on the Verbal SATs. Diversity, at the very least, is strongly correlated with white non-achievement. 

    Much of the decline in white verbal proficiency in recent decades can be accounted for by the effect of the ideology of multi-culturalism on curricula, in particular, on history and literature instruction, that infects all of public education (and much of private education).

    Textbooks of this bold new multicultural era are especially revealing. Education historian Diane Ravitch’s THE LANGUAGE POLICE: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn (2003) is a fine contribution toward understanding the process by which public school textbooks are now rendered toxically unreadable. 

    SOURCE: The Making of Americans: Democracy and Our Schools By E. D. Hirsch, Jr, January 24, 2010, BookTV.org Presentation (20 minutes followed by Q & A). Note to Viewer: The critical nine minutes are between minute 3 and minute 12:

  • IstvanIN

     Your subconscious specie-ism prevents the cat from reaching his full potential.

  • Epiminondas

    We should force Bush the Younger to go teach in Chicago.  He didn’t want any students left behind.  So he should show us how it’s done.

    • JohnEngelman

      Was he the guy who talked about “the soft bigotry of low expectations?” 

      • whats “soft” is what he has  in his pants!

      • The__Bobster

        That’s what he got from hanging around boozehead Teddy.

  • Ed_NY

    I live in a school district that covers two towns.  It has slightly more then 1800 students combined for all grades.  All of our eighth graders are proficient in reading.  Why?  Because our district has yet to reap the benefits of diversity.  There have never been any student on teacher assaults, nor has there been any crimes reported in the district in the five years I have lived here.  No one has ever been shot or stabbed in our schools.  There are no metal detectors.  Drug use-abuse, teen pregnancy, school violence are non-factors.  We do not need any type of security at any school event.  Do we have some problems?  Yes we do but nothing that pales in comparison to diverse schools.  This won’t last for ever, we can’t stop diversity. 

  • ncpride

    I was watching some documentary on our failing schools, and one fella out in LA said that most 9th graders enter his HS reading at a 1st to 3rd grade level. Then another fella, who was ironically black, said that we didn’t have this problem 50 years ago. Gee, I wonder what went wrong? I’ll admit I could only stomach half of this documentary, because all I heard were the same tired excuses and blame game.

  • Dean_Wormers_Hot_Wife

    Forcing African “American” “students” to learn the White Man’s English language is a racist construct.  We owe the “youths” a human rights award for Ebonicizing the language of the dominant culture’s oppressive construct and emancipating themseleves from the past.

    Free the African to be African, joyously!

  • In their heart and soul, most teachers know most of these kids are unteachable. They’re desperately hoping that someone will come up with a way to teach them but there aren’t any. So they beg for more programs, more money, and fewer kids per class desperately hoping they’re wrong about these kids. Their liberal-‘progressive’ defenses mechanism (‘I’m not a racist’ fear) prevents them from saying what they know is true. 

    • Defiant White

      Not quite.   You totally DO NOT understand the psychology of the modern American teacher.

      Teachers want more gibbsme than blacks.  Sure, they know blacks are “unteachable” . . . but they’ll never blame the black himself.  They’ll blame all the stuff you mention and much more:  the parents, the curriculum, the books, the classroom conditions, over-crowding, bad textbooks . . . and so on.

      It’s always something else at fault and my tax dollars are the fix to the problem.  You will never find a teacher blaming their precious black wards for being stupid and lazy.

    • The__Bobster

      The striking Chicago teachers want more money and the right to never be tested on their own competence. Whether their charges learn or not isn’t part of their agenda. It’s all about job security and money.

  • My sister is a teacher. She tries to teach kids like this. But she’ll also a dye-in-the-wool liberal who won’t and can’t admit to racial differences. So she clings to the directives of the teachers union that if teachers earned more money, had fewer students per class, and had unlimited funding, teachers could work miracles.
    I don’t necessarily blame teachers because they’re caught between a rock and a hard place. They want to teach but most of them won’t admit these kids are unteachable for fear of losing their positions.

  • You just need to find a new theory to teach your cat how to ride a bike.

  • Detroit_WASP

    I was told they had busing so I guess I stand corrected.   As for all public schools being a mess.  I disagree.  I was a teacher and there are wonderful public schools.  The article indicates otherwise for Chicago, which explains all the private schools there.

    Detroit had a large number of private schools back in the 80s.  A lot of whites still lived in the city then.  Now the city is about 90% black and all the private schools closed.   I guess blacks couldn’t afford  the tuition.

    • NM156

      I don’t know anyone who didn’t receive at least some segment of his or her K-12 education at a Catholic school in Chicago. The Catholic school system in the city, which predates Chicago Public Schools, began its decline only with the massive influx of Mexicans in the 1990s and an accelerated exodus of whites to the suburbs and exurbs. However, Catholic schools systems were large in all of the big Northern cities, including NYC, Boston, Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland, etc.

  • 79 percent of Chicago public school 8th graders are black and Hispanic.  What a coincidence.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    According to a new report, 47 percent of Detroiters are ‘functionally illiterate.’

    For 50 years, the government has fired hosed a trillion dollars specifically aimed at raising black reading scores.   The education system has implemented reading program after reading program, one after the other, hired armies of reading specialists, built state-of-the-art reading labs, emphasized “reading across the curriculum,” universal pre-school and mandated endless teacher trainings emphasizing the teaching of reading skills.

    All have produced the same dismal results:  No significant black gains in educational achievement for over 50 years.


    Yet there are STILL people out there who wish to blame teachers for black failure.

    There is an alarming fact seen in NAEP reading: 51 percent of black fourth-graders and 41 percent of black eighth-graders fall below Basic

    Across the country, the achievement gap between white students and black students persists. On NAEP reading, that gap is 25 points.

    Do you think it might have something to do with inherent low black IQ?? 

    Reading involves not only decoding strings of letters, but extracting meaning from them as well.  Students must have the capacity and capability  to derive knowledge from strings of letters, to make inferences, draw on prior knowledge, reach conclusions and apply what they’ve learned to new situations.

    Prof. Jensen writes in The G Factor that the problem is not the decoding of written language but rather comprehending it. Most illiterates do no better on reading tests when the selections are read to them than when they do the reading themselves.

    Imagine the trillions of dollars we could save if the government acknowledged  that IQ DOES EXIST and HAS MEANING.

    Maybe then the reason for black failure would be placed where it belongs — on inherent low black IQ — instead of on teachers.


    • Lou406

      It  appears as though the other 53% of Detroiters are “non-functionally illiterate”.

  • Lou406

    As luck would have it our students PISA scores are broken down by race. Remove  Blacks and Hispanics from the equation and you’ll find that the remaining students (Whites and Asians, as if I really needed to tell you) are receiving a high quality public education on par with all the other first world nations.

    I cant blame the teachers for not wanting their futures to depend upon the performance of  low functioning Students of Color.

  • KenelmDigby

    They tried ‘this’ – ‘this’ didn’t work.
    They tried ‘that’ – ‘that’ didn’t work.
    They blamed ‘them’, they blamed ‘those’ etc, etc, etc.

    Why can’t the powers-that-be simply just grow-up and stop lying to themselves?

  • Bad_Mr_Frosty

    bicycles be rayciss…

  • CharlesFinley

    “I for 5 years now been trying my cat to ride a bicycle,  even bought the newest I could find, hired tudors for after school programs, special food, ETC., guess what?  Cat still can’t ride the bicycle.”

    Grammar, punctuation, spelling and sentence structure all count when insulting the collective  intellect of a sub-species.


  • Triarius

    Here is a question: if the student can’t read or read well, how did s/he make it to the 8th grade?

    You would think that a kid couldn’t make it this far being illiterate, even in an all “diverse” school.

    (I know the real answer but this is a great question to ask libs. Too funny.)

    P.s. Watch an HBO special (if you can find it) that came out about Frederick Douglass High in Baltimore, MD around 2009, iirc. It’s supposed to be about the NCLB Act, but is no longer shown because it makes blacks look too stupid.

  • Ed_NY

    There are plans to build a new apartment complex within our school district.   The public announcement said that one third of all apartments will be reserved for low income and section 8 tenants.  The reason they said was because of a lack of affordable  housing in our area.  Diversity on the march! 

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    This lie is also crippling higher IQd students (including blacks)  who are forced to sit  — and be held back —  in classrooms with students of far lower ability, those who will never grasp reading past a 3rd grade level or math higher than basic addition (and I mean up to 5+5 = 10).  As a side note, in the district in which I teach, these lower students are now expected to pass math up to the level of Algebra II as a condition for receiving a high school diploma.

    You are 100% correct that this is something we teachers understand but the general public does not and the government refuses to acknowledge (easier to blame “overpaid,” “demanding” and “greedy” ((a word commonly used in my district in reference to teachers)) teachers).  It’s amazing that this blatant, evil lie —  All students are equally capable of achieving — is still being promoted, advanced and advocated and shoved down our throats when ALL empirical evidence shows that this is simply not true, has never been true and never will be true.  Boas was wrong. Gould was wrong.  The Frankfurter School was wrong.
     At some point, this lie HAS to collapse. 

    Until then, uncaring, stupid teachers, racist textbooks, school buildings, poverty, White oppressions, will continue to be blamed for black and brown failure.

    The high drop out rate not only includes those who simply cannot comprehend anything past a very rudimentary level; but also those with higher IQs who simply cannot tolerate being in classrooms where lessons are taught, slowly and repeatedly to the lowest common denominator. 

    This is what’s truly tragic and obscene about the modern American public school system.


  • joewest666

    These kids don’t need edumacation.

    Dey beez playin hoops and makin bank in no time.

  • JohnEngelman

    Liberals scream at me when I mention that I agree with the Bell Curve. These same liberals send their children to white private schools if the alternative is a predominantly black public school. 

  • JohnEngelman

    I often hear that we should raise academic standards and reduce the dropout rate. Raising academic standards and reducing the dropout rate is like cutting taxes and balancing the budget. It cannot be done. 
    If standards are raised many students discover that they lack the ability or the willingness to reach those standards. Consequently they drop out. 
    A high dropout rate is something an inner city school should be proud of. It means that standards are not being compromised. 

  • Allan477

    The president of the teachers’ union compained because the mayor had used the f-word when speaking to her.  I couldn’t but wonder if the f-word he had used was “fatpig”.  That woman could never spend the whole school-day on her feet in front of a classroom.

    That aside, I propose the following changes:

    All teachers are to be tested for basic literacy and arithmetic skill and they not be allowed to enter a classroom, or be paid, until they have passed these tests.

    All classrooms be provided with desks which are screwed to the floor as they were when I was in school.  Free-standing desks do have a tendency to wander.

    These changes would not solve all the problems, but they surely would solve a lot of them.

  • Ed_NY

    My last one graduated high school in 2011.  They are both in college and they now understand the value of diversity after being exposed to it for 1 and 3 years respectively.

  • E_Pluribus_Pluribus
  • Major

    Remember when these fakes and frauds cried…”It’s all about the chillin”? Yea….it’s all about the padding of their contracts and lucrative bennies. Teachers neither teach or lead or can be used as examples of respect or success. Most of them are functionally illiterate themselves…which is why the oppose the testing and standards proposed.

    “Teachers” today…especially in the ghetto schools where blacks and hispanics are the dominate curse….know their job is just to accept that their “classrooms” are mere holding pens for their future dates with state or federal incarceration.

    There’s no ignoring the child day care centers in todays “high schools” that must cater to their insatiable desire to get pregnant by some rapper or hoodie wearing punk…with droopy drawers at 14 or 15 years old.

    We all know it. We all know there’s only so many slots available for a lifetime career flipping burgers at the BK Lounge ( Burger King ) or coating chicken legs with a secret sauce at FFC or their favorite..PopEyes.

    It’s al true and we know it. But…GIVE DEM TEACHA’S MO MONEY…AND DEY’LL GRADUATE DEM CHILLIN’. AND MAKE THEM UNPRODUCTIVE, PERENNIAL LEECHES…but they’ll look slick in a cap & gown that’s totally meaningless.

    Yup…Black Power folks…Black Power.