The only organization dedicated solely to helping state boards advance equity and excellence in public education.

NASBE President Makes Statement on 2019 NAEP Results

Alexandria, VA – Robert Hull, president and CEO of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) issued the following statement on the release of the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading and mathematics test scores.

“Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states have been working hard to forge a path toward excellence by leveraging increased state flexibility and authority. Wednesday’s release of The Nation’s Report Card revealed that the work is far from complete. The report is devastating news for virtually every state: On average, students are performing at lower levels in reading compared with results in 2017, math scores have stagnated, and the gap between the highest and lowest performers have widened. These results reinforce the need for states to seize the moment to move forward with bold, decisive action.

State policymakers can learn from these data—and from jurisdictions like Mississippi and the District of Columbia, which made progress in ensuring every student’s success by investing in proven strategies and focusing on high standards, aligned assessments, and strong accountability. Using their collective powers of policy, convening, and questioning, Mississippi and the District of Columbia demonstrated that higher expectations equal higher student achievement and that persistence and collaboration are key in moving the needle for all students.

During a NASBE Annual Conference panel in October, Mississippi State Superintendent Carey Wright, Senate President Pro Tempore Gray Tollison, and Mississippi state board members Jason Dean and John Kelly spoke about how the state was able to improve student achievement so dramatically.

‘Mississippi’s success is not by accident,’ said Mississippi State Board Chair Jason Dean. ‘Our state board, state superintendent, and key leaders in the legislature recognized a problem and worked collaboratively to set a vision for public education that would put the right structures in place to improve teaching and student learning and close achievement gaps. Our steadfast commitment to equity and excellence is at the heart of this work.’

We challenge all state boards of education to review their data deeply and diagnostically, embrace their full authority, check their partisan tickets at the door, and roll up their sleeves to address the persistent, pernicious achievement gaps in their states. NASBE remains committed to empowering state board members with evidence to boost literacy instruction and help members make informed decisions. Our team has written and is developing resources that will help state boards think through the challenges they are facing on student achievement.

These data are a disheartening chapter in a story still being written but not the ending we accept as final. To write a better next chapter, we must take bold action to address the challenges before us and ensure every student’s success.”

For 60 years, NASBE has served as the only membership organization for state boards of education. A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, NASBE elevates state board members’ voices in national and state policymaking, facilitates the exchange of informed ideas, and supports members in advancing equity and excellence in public education for students of all races, genders, and circumstances. Learn more at


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