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U.S. Chamber Raises Alarm Bells, Urges Action on Decline in K-12 Achievement

Source: U.S. Chamber

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card, released October 24, revealed the largest declines ever recorded in math for 4th and 8th graders. Most states saw an alarming decline in student achievement in both math and reading from 2019 to 2022 — particularly for students of color and students with disabilities.

“This is a wakeup call for our country — for policymakers, leaders in public education, and the business community,” said Cheryl Oldham, U.S. Chamber of Commerce vice president of education policy. “These results show that learning loss has risen to historic levels in part due to the impact of the pandemic, which only exacerbated existing failures in the education system. Even before the pandemic, NAEP results were showing students making little to no progress in reading and math after seeing steady increases for two decades.”

“The solution to this problem requires more than just money. This data portends long-term economic losses, which is why it is critical that we focus on our young learners by preparing them to lead the jobs of the future. To do this we need sound policies and better information about what is working for students and what is not.”

The results emphasize the importance of setting high standards and maintaining aligned assessments, as information on student performance is crucial to addressing inequities. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is working to combat the downward trend in achievement by improving how testing data is used for school improvement and accountability.  Additionally, the U.S. Chamber’s Equality of Opportunity Initiative is working with industry partners to advance policy and private sector solutions that help close long-standing gaps in education.

A recently launched initiative, the Future of Data in K-12 Education, is exploring the effectiveness of data and assessments in America’s K-12 public schools and developing specific recommendations on solutions. The initiative is part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s longstanding commitment in support of high-quality education for all kids.  To stay connected to this data and its implications, Chris Berleth, Vice President of the Columbia Montour Chamber, and Jeff Emanuel, Director of the Columbia Montour Chamber Foundation, are working hand in hand with the U.S. Chamber through their Business Leads Fellowship (Berleth) and Talent Pipeline Management program (Emanuel).