Why did U.S. schools make so much progress in the 1990s and early 2000s?
Readers of this newsletter know that we try to avoid bad-news bias. My colleagues and I cover plenty of worrisome stories here, but we also want to make sure we’re covering encouraging ones. The world is full of both, after all.
Today, I’m going to focus on a positive and mostly overlooked trend in American education. For years, you’ve probably been hearing that our schools are in crisis. And K-12 education in the U.S. certainly has problems. But it has also been improving for much of the past few decades, according to several crucial metrics.
Starting in the late 1990s, the math skills of students in elementary and middle schools began to improve. A few years later, reading skills started improving, too.