Nothing Shifts The Racial Gap

The data remain as stubborn as ever:

The 2008 score gap between black and white 17-year-olds, 29 points in reading and 26 points in math, could be envisioned as the rough equivalent of between two and three school years’ worth of learning, said Peggy Carr, an associate commissioner for assessment at the Department of Education.

Even as all races continue to make gains, the demographic mix in America means that educational standards are stuck in the 1970s:

Despite gains that both whites and minorities did make, the overall scores of America’s 17-year-old students, averaged across all groups, were the same as those of teenagers who took the test in the early 1970’s. This was due largely to a shift in demographics; there are now far more lower scoring minorities in relation to whites. In 1971, the proportion of white 17-year-olds who took the reading test was 87 percent, while minorities were 12 percent. Last year, whites had declined to 59 percent while minorities had increased to 40 percent.