An African-American group is calling on state officials to examine what it calls an “academic crisis” in Iowa’s education system. Jonathan Narcisse is president of the State of Black Iowa Initiative. Narcisse says the group is concerned that too many students are being passed through schools without really learning. He says 50-percent of the students are testing “proficient” in reading, which he says is too many. Narcisse says the state needs to look at its standards to see if the kids are actually learning.He says the state’s been in a constant downward spiral, and the data shows the longer kids are in school, the worse they’re doing. He says this is an issue that impacts all of the state as without a highly educated and capable workforce, the state will not survive. The group is asking for an investigation of accusations that there’s deliberate manipulation of test scores to make Iowa’s system look better. They’re also asking the Attorney General to order school districts to stop reporting “misleading, incomplete or inaccurate data” on students. Narcisse says Iowans have a right to expect accountability in education.He says 40-percent of the state’s budget is committed to education, and we don’t even know the state graduation rate. Narcisse says they’re asking the Iowa House and Senate to pass a joint resolution declaring that a state of emergency exists in Iowa’s k-12 education system.
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