Reading Gap Between Wealthy And Poor Students Widens, Study Says

Source: Alessandra Malito / NBC News

The gap in reading proficiency between lower- and higher-income fourth graders has grown by 20 percent in the past decade, says a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Eighty percent of lower-income fourth-graders do not read at their grade level compared to 49 percent of their wealthier counterparts, according to the report, “Early Reading Proficiency in the United States,” which was released on Tuesday and is based on data from the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Overall, although improvements have been made in the last 10 years, 66 percent of all fourth graders are not proficient in reading, a level the researchers called “unacceptably low in an economic environment that requires increasing levels of education and skills for family-sustaining jobs.”

By 2020, the United States is expected to face a shortage of 1.5 million workers with college degrees and a surplus of 6 million unemployed people without a high school diploma, the report says.

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