Reader J.C. Grim forwarded this commentary from Tennessee’s SCORE (State Collaborative on Reforming Education).

It is very important for SCORE to claim that great progress is being made. At the 2013 release of NAEP scores, Secretary Duncan saluted Tennessee for its gains and held the state up as proof that the Race to the Top was working.

In 2015, however, Tennessee’s scores in math and reading were flat, for both fourth and eighth grade students.

The statement actually mis-states where Tennessee ranks among the states. For example, it says that Tennessee went from  being 41st in the nation in 8th grade reading to 30th, but the report says it is 36th in the nation. If you count the Department of Defense schools, then Tennessee is number 37. If we all aspire to be at the national average, we should follow Tennessee’s lead.

So, the response from reformers is to claim success because the gains from 2013 didn’t disappear. Not a word about flat scores; not a word about no gains.

Well, that’s one way to make progress. I guess the claim is, at least we stood still and didn’t go backwards.

Kentucky, which has no charter schools (unlike Tennessee), placed #9 in the nation. What can Tennessee learn from Kentucky?