One literature documents a significant, black-white gap in average test scores, while another finds
a substantial narrowing of the gap during the 1980’s, and stagnation in convergence after. We use
two data sources – the Long Term Trends NAEP and AFQT scores for the universe of applicants to the
U.S. military between 1976 and 1991 – to show: 1) the 1980’s convergence is due to relative improvements
across successive cohorts of blacks born between 1963 and the early 1970’s and not a secular narrowing
in the gap over time; and 2) the across-cohort gains were concentrated among blacks in the South.
We then demonstrate that the timing and variation across states in the AFQT convergence closely
tracks racial convergence in measures of health and hospital access in the years immediately following
birth. We show that the AFQT convergence is highly correlated with post-neonatal mortality rates
and not with neonatal mortality and low birth weight rates, and that this result cannot be explained
by schooling desegregation and changes in family background. We conclude that investments in health
through increased access at very early ages have large, long-term effects on achievement, and that
the integration of hospitals during the 1960’s affected the test performance of black teenagers in the
On the web page where Teach For America shares research, they boldly state: "A large and growing body of independent research shows that Teach For America corps members make as much of an impact on student achievement as veteran teachers." I will show this is an absurd claim simply by analyzing the reports made public on their "research" page. I will not look at or includeother research which shows that TFA has negative effects on student test scores in some places, as others have already done so.