Who Runs the Best U.S. Schools? It May Be the Defense Department. – The New York Times

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Schools for children of military members achieve results rarely seen in public education.

Sarah Mervosh reported from Fort Moore, Ga., an Army base that is home to five schools.
Amy Dilmar, a middle-school principal in Georgia, is well aware of the many crises threatening American education. The lost learning that piled up during the coronavirus pandemic. The gaping inequalities by race and family income that have only gotten worse. A widening achievement gap between the highest- and lowest-performing students.
But she sees little of that at her school in Fort Moore, Ga.
The students who solve algebra equations and hone essays at Faith Middle School attend one of the highest-performing school systems in the country.
It is run not by a local school board or charter network, but by the Defense Department.
With about 66,000 students — more than the public school enrollment in Boston or Seattle — the Pentagon’s schools for children of military members and civilian employees quietly achieve results most educators can only dream of.
On the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a federal exam that is considered the gold standard for comparing states and large districts, the Defense Department’s schools outscored every jurisdiction in math and reading last year and managed to avoid widespread pandemic losses.
In the best and worst performing states in 2022
2022
2013
Reading
Dept. of Defense schools
45%
55%
1. New Jersey
42
46
2. Massachusetts
40
48
3. Utah
36
39
National average
29
34
46. West Virginia
22
25
46. Mississippi
20
22
46. Alabama
22
25
46. D.C.
17
22
50. Oklahoma
21
29
51. New Mexico
18
22
20%
40
60
Math
Dept. of Defense schools
40
41
1. Utah
35
36
1. Massachusetts
35
55
3. Wisconsin
33
40
3. New Jersey
33
49
National average
26
34
48. Oklahoma
16
25
48. D.C.
16
19
50. West Virginia
15
24
51. New Mexico
13
23
2022
2013
Reading
Dept. of Defense schools
45%
55%
1. New Jersey
42
46
2. Massachusetts
40
48
3. Utah
36
39
National average
29
34
46. West Virginia
22
25
46. Mississippi
20
22
46. Alabama
22
25
46. D.C.
17
22
50. Oklahoma
21
29
51. New Mexico
18
22
20%
40
60
Math
Dept. of Defense schools
40
41
1. Utah
35
36
1. Massachusetts
35
55
3. Wisconsin
33
40
3. New Jersey
33
49
National average
26
34
48. Oklahoma
16
25
48. D.C.
16
19
50. West Virginia
15
24
51. New Mexico
13
23
Note: The national public school average includes Department of Defense schools.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
By Ashley Wu
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