The Status Quo is Not Acceptable for Low-Income Students

Right now, the majority of kids in California public schools come from low-income backgrounds.

That’s about 3.6 million kids – more than the number of people who live in Iowa, New Mexico or Nevada. Or nearly 20 other states.

But last week’s results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a low-stakes test that’s been administered since the 1990s, show that California is failing those 3.6 million kids, many of whom are children of color.

It’s disturbing: California’s scores for 4th grade math for low-income students only beat Alaska. That’s right, next-to-last place. Low-income 8th graders don’t fare much better – their math scores are in 44th place, right behind South Carolina and Mississippi.

On top of that, only 18% of low-income 4th graders and 19% of low-income 8th graders are proficient in reading. Gaps between low-income students and their higher-income peers have not changed in nearly 20 years, in both grades, in reading and in math.

The status quo is clearly unacceptable – especially for the 3.6 million low-income kids.

But in Sacramento, politicians have been showering praise on California’s supposed progress. That’s easier for them to do than admit there’s a serious problem and do something about our broken system.

We have no problem saying it: This is unacceptable. California must do better.

Marshall Tuck has a track record of doing better for low-income kids in California. In fact, he started 10 high schools in Los Angeles to improve outcomes for low-income kids. Those schools outperformed local schools. The schools he built still maintain higher graduation rates than California schools as a whole. Eight of them were ranked among the top high schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report. That’s a lot better than next-to-last place. That’s why we’re on #TeamTuck. Join us.