The notion that NAEP scores indicate that U.S. education is stagnating is a zombie myth that will never die. Consider this defense of former education superintendent Tony Bennett by someone who is an education policy wonk with serious credentials (boldface mine):
The Baby Boomers began retiring in 2008. The supply of high-caliber, career-limited women (including nuns) who helped educate a generation of immigrant families in the early 20th century is not going to be resurrected anytime soon. The NAEP data and the changing nature of America’s workforce tell us that time is running short.
The NAEP data tell us two things:
2) The racial gap, while still wide, is closing.
Neither of these suggest that “time is running short.” (There’s a third notable observation from the NAEP data–one that shall not be mentioned: the Alabama–Massachusetts gap. That would be very inconvenient).
This misinformation is apparently what motivates education ‘reformers.’ Just something to keep in mind.