(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
The Arizona Republic ran the following LTE from your favorite bearded wonk today. Okay, okay…fourth or fifth favorite…geez…
Linda Valdez (“How school choice sabotages Latino kids“) asserted that Arizona’s school choice options have been undermining the education of Hispanic students attending district schools.
This assertion cannot, however, withstand scrutiny. The National Assessment of Educational Progress shows that Arizona Hispanic students have made large academic gains.
Since all states began participating in NAEP in 2003, Arizona Hispanic students tied for first for the highest Hispanic on eighth-grade math, third among states in eighth-grade reading gains. Arizona Hispanic students tied for 6th in fourth-grade math and reading gains.
Arizona charter schools have more than done their part with a majority-minority student population and gains above and beyond the statewide average. Arizona Hispanic students attending charter schools, for instance, tied the statewide average for Delaware on eighth-grade math in 2015 on NAEP.
We have ample reason to desire a faster rate of progress, and I agree with Valdez that Arizona’s future rests heavily upon the success of Hispanic students. District schools, however, remain the most generously funded of Arizona’s school options by a wide margin and outcomes for Hispanic students have been trending in a positive direction.