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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida closing black-white achievement gap in early grades



Florida is one of only three states that narrowed the black-white achievement gap in fourth grade reading between 1992 and 2007, and one of only 15 that narrowed the gap in fourth grade math, according to a report released this morning by the National Center for Education Statistics.

In fourth grade reading, only Florida, Delaware and New Jersey showed increased scores for both black and white students and a narrowing gap, said the report, using scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

In fourth grade math, Florida pulled off the same feat along with Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Arkansas and Louisiana in the South.

In eighth grade math, Florida was not among the four states that showed a narrowing achievement gap, but was among many that showed increased scores for both black and white students.

In eighth grade reading, no states showed a significantly narrowing gap between 1998 and 2007.

The bigger picture is sobering: Between 1992 and 2007, the achievement gap between black and white fourth graders in reading narrowed 5 points nationally. At that rate, we’ll reach parity in 75 years.

In Florida, it narrowed by 9 points.

In a written statement, Florida Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith said the NCES report represented "tremendous progress for our state" but also "highlighted that we still have much more work to do."

- Ron Matus, state education reporter

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:28am]


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