Closing the Nashville Achievement Gap
In Nashville, there is a wide and growing achievement gap between children from low-income families and their more privileged peers. This gap, which refers to the disparity in performance between groups of students, shows up in grades, standardized test scores, drop-out rates, course selection, college completion rates, and other measures of success. The gap in Nashville has grown by 11% in recent years, making our achievement gap larger than 75% of other major American cities. Only one in ten children from low-income Nashville families attend a school that is actively closing that gap.
We believe this is unacceptable, and we are working to help ALL children in Nashville achieve at high levels and reach for success in the future. Our goal is to see 75% of 3rd graders proficient in reading by 2025.
Only 11% of Nashville's high school graduates are considered "college ready" according to ACT benchmark tests. While college can seem like something in the distant future for parents of young children, participation in early education programs like pre-K and Head Start lays the foundation for success and has a tremendous impact on what future opportunities will be available to them, including college. Here are the facts:
- By 3 years of age, there is a 30 million word gap between children from the wealthiest and poorest families.
- Children from low-income families who participate in high-quality early education are 30% more likely to graduate from high school and twice as likely to go to college.
What can you do?
- Enroll your child in a quality Early Education Program.
- Ensure that your child is Kindergarten ready.
- Read to children daily, taking time to go over new words.
- Use new and interesting words in natural conversations. Introducing a new word in context helps children learn what it means.
Nearly two-thirds of Nashville's fourth graders are not reading on grade level, which has a huge impact on their ability to progress and achieve in future grade levels. Not being able to read at their grade level is a huge setback for children, and can keep them from being college and career ready.
We must address the ugly truth:
- Children who are not reading at a proficient level by fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school before graduating.
- 26% of Hispanic
- 28% or Black
- 50% of Asian
- 53% of White
- 28% of Economically Disadvantaged
What can you do?
- Attend a literacy event.
- Encourage your child to read at least 20 minutes a day.
- Advocate that all students receive an excellent education via high-quality instruction.
Every child, with the proper support, can become a strong reader. Each of us has a role to play in helping to close the reading proficiency gap in our homes and in our communities.
2015 Education Report Card | Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
Early Childhood Education Enrollment | Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools