Chieppo: The truth is education scores have suffered under Deval Patrick

Charles Chieppo, a research fellow at the Ash Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Governemnt, lays out in the Boston Herald why Deval Patrick’s record on education is not great.

Massachusetts led the nation in student achievement well before Patrick took office in 2007. That year, our students even scored among the best in the world in math and science. Since then, the facts are sobering.

The commonwealth’s SAT scores are down 20 points from their 2006 highs. Third-grade reading scores are the best predictor of future academic success. Last year, after several years of stagnation, the percentage of Massachusetts third-graders who scored proficient or advanced on MCAS reading tests fell to its lowest level since 2009. At 57 percent, the portion of third-graders reading at or above the proficient level is 10 points lower than it was in 2002.

Results from the 2013 National Assessment for Educational Progress, known as the nation’s report card, tell a similarly disturbing story. Massachusetts’ five-point decline in fourth-grade reading was the largest in the country.

Such rapid deterioration doesn’t happen by accident. Soon after taking office, Patrick eliminated the commonwealth’s independent school district accountability office, because it told inconvenient truths to an education establishment that has been among the governor’s largest campaign contributors. Today we have virtually no accountability for a system on which state and local taxpayers spend about $9 billion annually.

When Deval Patrick says that Massachusetts leads the nation in education, he fails to mention that we have since before he took office and our position has been slipping every year since he took the reigns of government.    

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