U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released the following statement today regarding the National Center for Education Statistics' new report, "Achievement Gaps: How Black and White Students in Public Schools Perform in Mathematics and Reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress," which analyzes black-white achievement gaps at both the national and state level and how those gaps have changed over time:
"This report makes clear that schools matter and when schools serving children of color are primarily staffed by less experienced, less effective teachers, the effects are tragic. The children most in need of great teaching to accelerate their learning are not being served adequately and in many cases, they are being denied their civil right to an education that prepares them to graduate high school prepared for college and careers.
"We cannot allow this to continue or our nation will pay the price socially and economically. With unprecedented resources available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we are challenging states and school districts to put forth new ideas, open the doors to innovation, and dramatically increase the pace of school reform efforts.
"We must simultaneously raise the achievement of all students, while closing gaps in achievement between different groups of students. This report shows that this can be done, but the progress has been too slow. The achievement gaps are still too wide, and overall achievement is too low, especially compared to other countries. We must accelerate school reforms to make sure all of our students are prepared to compete in the global marketplace."