There was some good news from national test scores this week. Nine-year-olds in this country scored their best in reading and math in more than three decades.

Kids scored best in reading since the tests were first given in 1971 and on math in 1973. Credit should go to the national emphasis on elementary education and on readiness training among students.

The Associated Press reports that test scores for 13-year-olds were mixed and flat for 17-year-olds. The 13-year-olds scored their highest math scores ever but reading points about the same as five years ago and just slightly better than in 1981.

More 17-year-olds are taking mathematics but the scores remain flat, a trend begun several years ago. The achievement gap between racial groups also narrowed, according to 2004 the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings credited the national No Child Left Behind Act. Indeed, more than half of the progress in reading has come in the last five years. But much progress was made before then.

Many states, including Oklahoma began looking seriously at their common schools in the mid 1970s. Changing the course of public schools requires patience and the commitment of parents, teachers, students, principals and public policy makers.

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