What’s wrong with this statistic?
A 50-page report released on Monday by New Jersey’s Department of Education rates over 97% of the state’s teachers as either “effective” or “highly effective.”
Out of the state’s roughly 100,000-strong teaching corps, just 2,900, or 2.8%, received the lesser ratings of “partly effective” or “ineffective.” Under the state’s rating system, a teacher with an unsatisfactory rating is to be put on an improvement plan, while two straight bad ratings could put the person’s job at risk.
The ratings were even more generous to principals. Only 2.4% of them were labeled “partly effective,” and just 0.2% were “ineffective.”
New Jersey education statistics paint a different picture, however.
Compared to many other states, New Jersey’s education statistics aren’t awful. The school’s high school graduation rate is over 88%, and its students perform reasonably well on the federal government’s National Assessment of Educational Progress tests used to compared different states.
But this success comes in spite of several school districts that produce horrible outcomes for students. In the Camden City School District, which has about 1,300 faculty, only three students (not 3% – “three”) who graduated in 2013 were deemed “college-ready,” and only one student in seven is proficient in math and reading. In the state capital of Trenton, the graduation rate is only 50%– and that’s actually an improvement over years past.
In Newark — the state’s largest school district with over 2,500 teachers — poor performance has been well-entrenched, as the city has gone through a state takeover and a $100 million Mark Zuckerberg donation without making much more than a dent in its overall achievement rates. According to a report released this spring, only 19% of Newark high schoolers are on track to be college-ready in reading, and a miserable 4% are expected to be college-ready in science.
Despite all these areas of failure, however, according to New Jersey, over 97% of New Jersey teachers are apparently effective, and the state’s largest teachers union is using the new evaluations as a chance to spike the football.
“It is encouraging, but not surprising, that 97.3% of New Jersey’s teachers were rated effective or highly effective in the first year of the new evaluation system,” New Jersey Education Association president Wendell Steinhauer told NJ.com.
This report, by Blake Neff, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.