EASY DOES IT: A new report from the American Center for Progress reveals that students are not being challenged that much in school. We admit to being a bit skeptical when some students need carry-on luggage to ferry books back and forth, but the data used for the report comes from Tripod-powered surveys -- the same types of surveys used to compile the Measures of Effective Teaching report by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. All of the findings are sobering, though few are surprising. We’ve known for years (and through many other reports) that “students from disadvantaged background are less likely to have access to more rigorous learning opportunities.” Other stats really make us step back. For example, only “50 percent of 12th-grade math students said they feel like they are always or almost always learning in their math class,” while “25% of middle school math students report that they sometimes or hardly ever understand what their teacher asks,” leaving the report to conclude their is a fundamental disconnect between teachers’ and students’ language. On a slightly brighter note, researchers admit that they only reported survey responses where there was a significant opportunity gap between demographics, and did not have any samples to analyze quality of work so there could be some positives left in the data. We certainly hope so. Download the full report here. Data wonks can find the complete data set here.