Tuesday, July 4, 2023

In Virginia 84 percent of Black students lack proficiency in mathematics and 85 percent of Black students lack proficiency in reading skills.

The teachers unions and the rest of the educational-industrial complex have achieved what the slave codes and anti-literacy laws could not.

From The Hill, November 4, 2021:

Many of America’s Black youths cannot read or do math — and that imperils us all 

There is something deeply troubling happening in this country. I thought I had a grasp on it, but I was gravely off-base. I hosted the Republican candidate for Virginia lieutenant governor, Winsome Sears, on my TV show, Your Voice, Your Future, on Nov. 1. I had planned to ask her and the other guests questions on issues ranging from the November election to inflation, to the current presidential administration. However, in Mrs. Sears’s first response, the entire course of the show changed.

In my first question, I asked her what is wrong in Virginia and how it can be fixed. Her response startled me: She told me that 84 percent of Black students in eighth grade lack the ability to do math, and 85 percent are functionally illiterate. I could not believe this. In fact, I thought she had misspoken. My researchers quickly fact-checked her words and confirmed this sad reality. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a sector of the U.S. Department of Education, 84 percent of Black students lack proficiency in mathematics and 85 percent of Black students lack proficiency in reading skills. This astonished me, and the hour-long show became dedicated to examining what’s behind these numbers.

Still, I left the studio perplexed. How could this happen in schools located so close to the nation’s capital? I have reported extensively on the educational plight of Baltimore, but I thought this issue might be unique to that city. Was this happening nationwide? I had to get to the bottom of it. 

My team and I scoured the NAEP data sets and found a trend that should concern every politician — indeed, every American. In California, 90 percent of students cannot do math or read well. In New York, the numbers are 85 percent and 82 percent. In Illinois it is 86 percent and 85 percent. In Texas the numbers are 84 percent and 89 percent. Maryland sits at 86 percent for math and 80 percent for reading. My home state of South Carolina is 90 percent and 87 percent. In Georgia, the numbers are 86 percent and 82 percent. In Missouri, it is 89 percent and 88 percent. And in Washington, D.C., the numbers are 85 percent and 87 percent

That’s just a sampling, but the problem isn’t confined to these states. Nationwide, Black children overwhelmingly lack proficiency in math and reading. To use Mrs. Sears’s words, they are “functionally illiterate,” meaning that they are “unable to manage daily living and employment tasks.” How can our society progress if a major segment of our country cannot read?...


This isn't new. Here's EdWeek in 2016:

Black Boys in Crisis: They Aren’t Reading

Literacy is the basic building block for the rest of an academic career and the lifetime that follows it. Research shows that kids who come from homes where reading was a priority, and they were read to by their parents, perform better academically throughout their lives. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that Kindergarten students who are read frequently to at home are more likely to count to 20, write their own names, and read (or pretend to read).

Only 53 percent of children ages 3 to 5 are read to every day by a family member, though, and that number drops for families with incomes below the poverty line. The importance of parental influence in reading extends beyond the youngest grades. The U.S. Department of Education reports that fourth-grade classrooms with low parental involvement have students with average reading scores that are 46 points below the national average.

Reading isn’t important just for its own sake, however. Literacy is the foundation for all other learning endeavors. The Educational Testing Services reports that students who read more in their homes perform better on math assessments. The connection between reading in early childhood and its impact on future years is clear. Since parents, grandparents, and siblings are the default role models most of the time during that vital 0 to 5 age group, the responsibility to instill early literacy falls on families.

That’s a problem for black boys. Only 10 percent of eighth-grade black boys in the U.S. are proficient in reading. In urban areas like Chicago and Detroit, that number is even lower. By contrast, the 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress found that 46 percent of white students are adequate readers by eighth grade, and 17 percent of black students as a whole are too.

The achievement gap between the two races is startling, but the difference between the NAEP report on black students as a whole and the stats on black boys alone is troubling too....


If interested, here is Virginia's 1831 amendment to the existing slave laws:

6. Be it further enacted, That if any white person, for pay or compensation, shall assemble with any slaves for the purpose of teaching, and shall teach any slave to read or write, such person, or any white person or persons contracting with such teacher so to act, who shall offend as aforesaid, shall, for each offence, be fined at the discretion of a jury, in a sum not less than ten, nor exceeding one hundred dollars, to be recovered on an information or indictment.

The South Carolina Act of 1740:

Whereas, the having slaves taught to write, or suffering them to be employed in writing, may be attended with great inconveniences; Be it enacted, that all and every person and persons whatsoever, who shall hereafter teach or cause any slave or slaves to be taught to write, or shall use or employ any slave as a scribe, in any manner of writing whatsoever, hereafter taught to write, every such person or persons shall, for every such offense, forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds, current money”

And many, many more. Pure History has a chronological list of the slave codes, laws and acts of the various slave states.

[Black man reading newspaper by candlelight]

[Black man reading newspaper by candlelight] ca. 1863, U.S. Library of Congress

  • Title: [Black man reading newspaper by candlelight]
  • Creator(s): Stephens, H. L. (Henry Louis), 1824-1882, artist
  • Date Created/Published: [ca. 1863]
  • Medium: 1 drawing : watercolor.
  • Summary: Man reading a newspaper with headline, "Presidential Proclamation, Slavery," which refers to the Jan. 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.
  • Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ds-16192 (digital file from original) CaLC-USZC4-2442 (color film copy transparency) CbLC-USZCN4-285 (color film copy neg.) CcLC-USZCN4-311 (color film copy neg.)
  • Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.
  • Access Advisory: Restricted access: Materials in this collection are often extremely fragile; most originals cannot be served.
  • Call Number: CAI - Stephens (H.L.), no. 1 (A size) [P&P]
  • Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print...