It will not surprise readers of this blog to learn that most of these schools serve children of color and children of poverty. Many, most or all of these schools will be closed. If Governor Christie has his way, many new charters will open to replace public schools.
According to the Education Law Center of New Jersey:
In early April, NJDOE released the list of schools in the new classifications. An ELC analysis of the list shows:
- 75 schools are classified as Priority Schools based on low scores on state standardized tests; 97% of the students attending these schools are Black and Latino, 81% are poor, and 7% are English language learners.
- 183 schools are classified as Focus Schools based on low graduation rates or large gaps on state tests; 72% of the students in these schools are black and Hispanic, 63% are poor, and 10% are English language learners.
- 112 schools are classified as Reward Schools based on high achievement or high levels of growth on state tests; 20% of the students in these schools are black and Hispanic, 15% are poor, and 2% are English language learners.
Priority Schools – those potentially targeted for closing – are almost all Black and Latino, very poor, with many students who do not speak English as a first language. The student mobility rate in Priority Schools is a staggering 24%. These schools are located in some of the poorest communities in the state.
Reward Schools – those receiving financial bonuses – are clustered in the highest wealth districts in the state and serve a small percentage of Black and Latino students. These schools also have low poverty rates, few English language learners and little student mobility. Many of the Reward Schools are magnet high schools and vocational schools with highly selective admissions.