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The Public Policy Institute

Separate And Unequal

The Reading Gap in New York's Elementary Schools

With a Preface by the Reverend Floyd H. Flake

Year after year, tens of thousands of minority children in New York State emerge from elementary school poorly grounded in reading. The system has excuses -- but the excuses don't help the kids. (Introduction)


The state's testing program measures the performance of virtually all third- and sixth-graders. The standards are not particularly demanding. This study uses an extensive analysis of state data to document that it is largely the schools serving high-minority populations that are failing to meet those standards. (Section 1)


Between 1990 and 1996, the percentages of both third- and sixth-graders in high-minority schools who scored below the minimum levels increased. (Section 2)


The state's Board of Regents is working rapidly to raise standards. But as the Education Department acknowledges, results must improve, too. (Section 3)


The successes of some schools -- and a growing body of research -- demonstrate that these problems are not inevitable. Will educators learn from the failures of the past, and produce better results for minority kids? (Section 4)

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