The Asbury Park Press reports that Marlboro Public Schools wins the prize in Monmouth County for the school district with the most PARCC opt-outs. There, NJEA reports, 37% of students, or 1,960 out of 5.200, are declining to participate in the new Common Core-aligned assessments.
That’s no surprise. Marlboro Township is almost all white and Asian, with an African-American population of 2% and a Hispanic population of 4%. The median household income is $130,400; a mere 1.2% of families subsist on under the poverty line.
Thus, the opt-out movement provides New Jersey’s public schools with yet another form of inequity. The parents of poor kids opt-in. The parents of rich kids opt-out.
Meanwhile, NJEA and Save Our Schools-NJ lobby the State Legislature to pass opt-out bills that sabotage the state’s ability to measure achievement gaps and equitably distribute resources to school systems that primarily serve our neediest kids.
There’s an editorial in today’s Daily News written by Tenicka Boyd, a minority mother in Brooklyn:
The push to stop kids from taking tests that measure their annual progress threatens to increase the already troubling disparities in our public education system.
Parents who want to hold the school system accountable — and especially my fellow parents of children of color — should raise their voices in opposition to the heads-in-the-sand brigades…
If we don’t measure whether kids are learning, we’re blinding ourselves to what works and what doesn’t in education. I stand with the 20 or so civil rights groups — who stand with President Obama, Gov. Cuomo and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan — supporting strong accountability measures so that the students across town can have as much access to higher education as the students in my zip code.
Everything I have been able to achieve in my life can be traced to the strong public education I got growing up. For me, opting in was the great equalizer that set me on a different path from far too many people I know and love.
She could just as easily have been pointing to New Jersey. Legislators should pay attention.