This is a pretty interesting interesting article from the Christian Science Monitor:

Americans cheered the latest release of the test called “the nation’s report card,” which showed marked long-term gains in math and reading for elementary and junior high students. But the loudest applause is due for the South, as it turns out. Largely missed in the initial hoopla was a startling fact:

Much of the national progress reported for 9- and 13-year-olds was driven by gains in the South. For example, while 9-year-olds in the Northeast gained 10 points in reading achievement (the equivalent of a grade level) over the past 30 years, the South gained 24, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). While reading scores for 13-year-olds barely budged in most of the United States, the South gained 12 points, more than a grade level.

It’s vindication for a generation of Southern governors, business groups, and educators who launched the standards movement in education a decade before it was picked up by the rest of the nation.