Why are student test scores plunging? Look at politicized education
Recent national student test scores showed a massive decline in learning in reading and math. This achievement implosion has several explanations – one is the increasing politicization of classroom instruction, which is reducing rigor and diverting attention from improving students’ foundational knowledge and skills.
From 2020 to 2022, reading scores for nine-year-olds on the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP), often referred to as the nation’s report card, registered the largest decline since the 1990s, while math scores declined for the first time ever. These score comparisons were the first nationally representative snapshot of student learning during the pandemic.
While school closures and ineffective distance-learning efforts were important reasons for the slide in test scores, former North Carolina governor Beverly Perdue, who chairs the board responsible for the NAEP, warned, “We can’t keep blaming COVID.”
Indeed, other important reasons exist for the nosedive in student performance.
Many students report that increasing ideological indoctrination in the classroom is leading to weaker standards and lower expectations.
One California student reported that a teacher at his school told the class that perfectionism and striving for perfection was part of white supremacy culture. Another one of his teachers “made it seem like it was bad to have a good work ethic or to be supportive of meritocracy.” In his school, grades were inflated, low grades were eliminated, late assignments were allowed, and multiple retakes of exams were permitted. Rigor simply disappeared.