Please Tell Me It's Not True That 69% of All New York Students Cannot Read Well

New York’s Common Core Test Scores are in, and the results are predictably unsatisfying and lower than previous tests. Overall, 31% of New York State students met the minimum standard in language arts. But the most distressing aspect is the huge gap between African American students and other groups.

The differences between groups is stunning: 54% of Asians, 39% of whites, and 16.1% of African Americans were proficient in language arts. Is it really true that 83.9% of black children are linguistically challenged?

The return on our investment in education is disgracefully low based upon these numbers, especially in urban areas. When will America see the forest through the trees and discuss the real causes of the “learning gap” in a frank and productive forum?

Everyone knows that urban schools drag down the numbers in New York and in every other state that has a big city. City kids, especially minorities, do not embrace the importance of education. This mentality is not innate; it happens because no one has been inclined or able to convince them that education is the ticket out of poverty.

In fairness, socioeconomic issues play a huge role in this terrible state of affairs. For instance, too many families have only one parent. This means only one parent is around to pass on good values relating to education. Many single parents are working two jobs and do not have the time or the energy to mentor their children. And some parents really do not grasp the importance of schooling because no one taught them either.

Liberals, teacher unions, and city managers only talk about money. “Let’s throw more money into education, and our students will be better educated,” they say.

I say nonsense.


I wish that money could solve our educational problems. The fact is that good teachers are becoming indifferent about going into problem schools. It is a thankless, unrewarding, and dangerous assignment. Frankly, some teachers become cynical and develop bad attitudes that are so pervasive among students.

When most parents attend parent-teacher conferences and curriculum nights, as they do in every private school, we will know that education in urban areas is improving. Minority communities must elevate education and convince their children that it will improve their lives. At that moment, greater funding will turbo charge the process.

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Sal Bommarito

I spend most of my time writing a screenplay based on three of my published novels.

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