Only 21 Percent of Chicago Public School 8th Graders Are Proficient in Reading

By Terence P. Jeffrey | February 17, 2012 | 12:15pm EST

Then-Vice President Joe Biden, President-elect Barack Obama and Education Secretary-designate Arne Duncan visited a Chicago school in December 2008. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - In the Chicago Public Schools, where the teacher’s union is now seeking a 30 percent raise over the next two years, only 21 percent of 8th graders tested at grade-level proficient or better in reading in 2011 and only 20 percent tested at grade-level proficient or better in mathematics, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

The reading and math scores of Chicago public-school 8th graders not only ranked below the national average and the Illinois average, they also ranked below the average for 8th graders attending public schools in other large cities around the country.

In the NAEP 8th grade reading test, which is graded on a scale of 0-500, the national average in 2011 was 220, the Illinois average was 219, the large city average was 211, and the Chicago average was 203.

In the NAEP 8th grade math test, also graded on a scale of 0-500, the national average in 2011 was 240, the Illinois average was 239, the large city average was 233, and the Chicago average was 224.

Before he joined the Obama administration, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools.

As poorly as Chicago public-school 8th graders tested in reading and math in the 2011 NAEP tests, they did better in 2011 than they did in 2007--when Duncan was still running the city's schools. In the 2007 NAEP tests, only 17 percent of Chicago public-school 8th graders tested at grade-level proficient or better in reading and only 13 percent tested at grade-level proficient or better in mathematics.

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