Your Views: Zimmerman trial sheds light on low test scores

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Professor Walter E. Williams, in an article for TownHall.com July 10, put an unfortunate highlight on a witness at the George Zimmerman trial. Rachel Jeantel, age 19, was asked by Zimmerman’s defense attorney to read the letter she had allegedly written to Travon Martin’s mother. She responded that she doesn’t read cursive.

If this were an isolated case, that’s one thing. However, the reality is that this is not an isolated case!

Rachel is black, and these are the achievement levels from her school: Thirty-nine percent of the students score basic for reading, and 38 percent score below basic. In math, 37 percent score basic, and 50 percent score below basic. Below basic is the score when a student is unable to demonstrate even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at his grade level.

It’s not just Florida’s schools. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, nationally most black 12th-graders test either basic or below basic in reading, writing, math and science. Drs. Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom wrote in their 2004 book, “No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning,” that “Blacks nearing the end of their high school education perform a little worse than white eighth-graders in both reading and U.S. history, and a lot worse in math and geography.” Little has changed since the book’s publication.

I should mention Walter Williams is black!



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