Commentary, Courier News, 4/15/16
Are the public schools serving New Jersey’s middle-class students performing well? Lots of parents think so. They believe that student performance problems are limited to low-income areas in the inner city — in places like Newark or Camden. But many suburban public schools serving middle-class New Jersey students are not performing as well as parents think, according to a new study from the Pacific Research Institute.
Despite these troubling proficiency rates on a respected national exam, many middle-class New Jersey parents believe that their local public schools are doing fine. Part of the reason is that New Jersey’s own state exams have, until recently, been easy to pass. The PRI study found that there were very few predominantly middle-class public schools where half or more of the students in at least one grade level failed to achieve math or English proficiency on the less-than-rigorous 2014 state exams.