Historically, the achievement gap between America’s black and white students was widest in Southern states, where the legacies of slavery and segregation were reflected in extremely low math and reading scores among poor African-American children.
But black students have made important gains in several Southern states over two decades, while in some Northern states, black achievement has improved more slowly than white achievement, or has even declined, according to a study of the black-white achievement gap released Tuesday by the Department of Education.
As a result, the nation’s widest black-white gaps are no longer seen in Southern states like Alabama or Mississippi, but rather in Northern and Midwestern states like Connecticut, Illinois, Nebraska and Wisconsin, according to the federal data.
By 2007, the state with the widest black-white gap in the nation on the fourth-grade math test (not counting the District of Columbia) was not in the deep South, but in the Midwest — Wisconsin. White students there scored 250, slightly above the national average, but blacks scored 212, producing a 38-point achievement gap. That average score for black students in Wisconsin was lower than for blacks in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi or any other Southern state, and 10 points below the national average for black students, the study indicated.
Wisconsin was the only state in which the black-white achievement gap in 2007 was larger than the national average in the tests for fourth and eighth grades in both math and reading, according to the study.
Racial Gap in Testing Sees Shift by Region
By SAM DILLON
Published: July 14, 2009
This brings to mind the Times article on Balanced Literacy in Madison, WI.
However, I don't know whether southern schools are more likely to use explicit instruction than northern schools. Given redkudu's (& evil math teacher's) experiences, I wouldn't assume so.
Nevertheless, I've had a hypothesis for a while now that the closer you are to Columbia Teacher's College, the worse things are. (I see the entire state of California as being really close to Teacher's College.)
The truth is, I have no idea what to make of this finding.