What Corzine doesn’t tell us about NJ education

From APP.com:

During his tenure, the governor has heaped both money and praise on our public education system. He regularly describes it as “the envy” of other states and cites what is often advertised as the “highest graduation rate in the nation” by the New Jersey Education Association.

The governor cites a recent study that ranked New Jersey in the top five nationally for public education output with a grade of B-minus. He does not tell us that the national average for that study is a C or that we spend 32 percent more per pupil for this nominal distinction.

He does not address the fact that the average minority high school graduate is four grade levels behind his or her white counterpart, despite receiving the same diploma. He does not reveal that, although only 15 percent of high school graduates come from the Abbott districts, they represent 42 percent of students who use the state’s less-rigorous alternate route assessment, the SRA, which is triggered after students fail the standard exit exam as many as three times. That’s a test that can be passed with a score as low as 47 percent.

The governor avoids saying that the 11,000 to 15,000 students annually — disproportionately minority — who use the SRA are, regardless, counted in the state’s graduation total. Without them, our graduation rate falls from 1st to 24th. Or that one-third of NJ STARS scholarship recipients, ostensibly our top high school performers, need remediation.

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