Last week, education policymakers, researchers, foundations and corporate executives gathered for a national summit on adult literacy in Washington, D.C. The inaugural event, hosted by the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, was designed to look at evidence-based best practices for addressing the nation’s literacy crisis.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, one in five adults in the U.S. struggle to read basic sentences. This can impact everything from an individual’s earning potential to their health outcomes later in life. This week’s Monday numbers column takes a closer look at the literacy gap and recent results from the Nation’s Report Card:

43 million – Number of adults in the U.S. who possess low literacy skills.

34 – Number of 34 states this year — including North Carolina — that saw no significant improvement in its fourth-grade reading scores from 2017.

36 – The percentage of North Carolina fourth-graders who scored as proficient in reading during the 2018-19 school year on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) assessment

39 – The percentage of North Carolina fourth-graders who scored at or above NAEP’s proficient level in 2017

25 points – The gap between black students’ average reading score and white students’ average on the NAEP test in 2019.

21 points – The gap between Hispanic students’ average reading score and white students’ average.

26 – Students who were eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in 2019 had an average score that was 26 points lower than that for students who were not eligible.

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From Clayton Henkel at N.C. Policy Watch:

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