D.C. Gets an ‘F’ in Academic Achievement for Low-Income and Minority Students

Ali Meyer, CNS News, September 19, 2014

The District of Columbia in 2014 received an “F” grade in academic achievement for low-income and minority students attending its public schools, according to a report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber, which released a report entitled Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on K-12 Educational Effectiveness, ranked states on nine indicators to see which states were the national leaders in educational performance and which states were lagging behind.

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Out of nine indicators of educational achievement that the District of Columbia was applicable for, D.C. received five F’s, one D+, one C+, and two A’s.

The District got F’s in the Academic Achievement, Academic Achievement for Low-Income and Minority Students, International Competitiveness, Post-secondary and Workforce Readiness, and Return on Investment metrics.

According to the report, “The District of Columbia earns a failing grade in academic achievement for low-income and minority students. The District has the highest percentage nationwide of both African-American (76%) and low-income (78%) students. Fourth and 8th graders in both groups perform below the national average at or above the proficient level on the NAEP reading exam.”

Other failing metrics for D.C. were workforce readiness and international competitiveness. “The District earns a failing grade preparing its students for college and careers. Students’ chances for college attendance by age 19 are the lowest in the nation,” said the Chamber of Commerce. “The District earns a very low grade preparing its students to compete in a global economy. Only 10% of students are proficient in reading and math–the lowest percentage in the nation–compared with an international standard.”

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The district fared better in metrics like parental options and data quality. “The District does an excellent job providing parents with strong school choice options. It has one of the strongest charter school laws in the country and more than half of all students attend a school of choice–the highest in the nation,” said the Chamber.

“The District earns an excellent grade collecting and reporting high-quality education data,” states the report. “It provides funding to expand its longitudinal data system and links student performance data with teacher data.”

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