America

Black Kids Close The Gap In Reading, Still Trail Their Peers

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Students at the Knowledge Is Power Program Academy in the Bronx get two hours of homework each night. Chris Hondros/Newsmakers/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Chris Hondros/Newsmakers/Getty Images

Black students made up some ground on their white counterparts in most states, says the Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. The report, Achievement Gaps: The Nation's Report Card, is the first major study released on the schools since President Obama took office.

That's the good news, reports NPR's Claudio Sanchez, and it's based on test results from the early 1990s to 2007. Sanchez says that significant gains for fourth- and eighth-graders came in reading and math, but that African-American kids still trail by 26 to 31 points. More from him:

Though the black-white gap in math among fourth graders narrowed in 15 states, only three states closed the gap in reading among fourth graders. Not a single state narrowed the reading gap among eighth graders. Bottom line? The overall academic gap between blacks and whites persists in every state where data was available.

The biggest achievement gaps used to be in Southern states. Now they're in Northern and Midwestern ones.

Bonus: The Measure of America's Common Good Forecaster, which lets you track the effects of education on income and and life expectancy.

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