Results of the Nation’s Report Card released Tuesday show fewer than half of 4th- and 8th-grade students are proficient in math and reading–far short of the federal No Child Left Behind goal of 100 percent proficiency in three years.

“The results are disappointing,” said Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor. “This is not a pretty picture. It is not what we expect of our state.”

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy agreed.

“This news is a sobering reminder of the real disparity in our state between some of the highest performing school systems, and some of the lowest,” he said.

Officials at the State Department of Education said the results — which showed little progress over the last eight years — “reveal many concerns”.

Connecticut’s overall results mirror national averages with proficiency levels, but the test shows the state has the largest achievement gap between low-income students and their more affluent peers and minority groups in seven of 10 measured categories.

“I wish it was not the case,” Pryor said, calling it shameful. “We are doing poorly in every case.”

The New-Haven education reform group ConnCAN responded with harsh criticism.

“We’ve been asleep at the wheel, and these results are a huge wake up call,” said Patrick Riccards, the new leader of ConnCAN

Malloy has said he plans to dedicate the upcoming legislative session to education reform, including working to close this achievement gap. The state has also informed the U.S. Department of Education that they plan to apply for a waiver to the 100 percent requirement from NCLB by mid-February.

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