Nearly 10 years ago President George W. Bush signed into law the "No Child Left Behind" act. Among other goals, Bush believed his education reforms would help close the achievement gap between white and minority students. Well, the Department of Education released new data today showing that the achievement gap between white and Hispanic students is still as wide as it was in the 1990s. Though, Florida is one of the few states where the gap has decreased.
Hispanic students' scores in reading and math at the 4th and 8th grade levels have risen some since the '90s, but the achievement gap is nowhere near being closed.
Test scores since the law went into effect show Hispanic and white students have made steady gains, with Hispanic students in some cases improving at a faster rate. But the gap between has only seen an incremental change.
Time reports that Hispanic students on average still scored 20 points below white students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress scale. The Gap is especially concerning as the United States' Hispanic population continues to grow.
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Time theorizes though that the gap may be a result of failing to bridge the language barrier:
Although the report focuses on the achievement of an entire ethnic group, the numbers suggest that the persistent gap has more to do with the language barrier among a subset of that group. There are some four million Hispanic students in public schools whose primary language is not English. The NCES report showed an even larger difference between those students, known as English language learners or ELL, and their Hispanic classmates who are proficient in English. For example, in eighth grade reading, the discrepancy between ELL Hispanic students and non-ELL Hispanic students was 39 points, or roughly four whole grade levels.
Though, interestingly, the gap between ethnic groups nationally have remained the same, their has been some progress in Florida. Florida's Public Schools Chancellor Michael Grego tells the magazine that can be attributed to the fact that Florida specifically addresses the needs of students who may not be proficient in English.