Reading and Math Scores Changed Barely At All This Year

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New NAEP test scores are out for grades 4 and 8. Because the NAEP is such a trusted low-stakes test, you’re going to hear a lot about what these new scores “mean.” Maybe even from me! But here’s the one thing you need to know before you read anyone telling you that these scores prove that standardized tests are good (or bad) or that Arne Duncan is an idiot (or a hero) or that teachers unions are a mess (or a godsend): the change in test scores was tiny.

Over the long term, NAEP scores in both math and reading have increased steadily and substantially. However, they’ve always bounced around by a few points both up and down in every cycle. This isn’t to say that the 2015 scores are meaningless, but you should pay no attention to any sensational declarations from any side in the ed wars. This year’s scores are a downward blip, something we’ve seen before. It will be many years before we know for sure if they’re anything more than that.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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