"Clearly what's needed and lacking in the district is a curriculum.''

That's a real quote. The speaker is Asbury Park School District’s new superintendent Denise Lowe, who says that “major changes have to be made to the schools or the school district will cease to exist, “ according to the Asbury Park Press. Enrollment is dropping because students are leaving for parochial schools and charter schools, so she's put together a five-year plan to improve achievement.

She's got her work cut out for her. Asbury Park High School, for example, with 478 kids, has a 45.7% mobility rate. (The state average is 9.6%.) 72% of students failed the 11th grade HSPA test in language arts and 86.1% failed the math portion. Average SAT scores are 325 in math and 330 in verbal. Attendance rates in 9th grade are 83%. A whopping 64.6% of kids never pass the HSPA and end up taking the Special Review Assessment, a back-door-to-diploma-route that is impossible to fail. The total comparative cost per pupil? $24,428. (DOE data here.)

"Ceasing to exist" might be a better deal for the kids stuck in this curriculum-free school. Maybe then they could attend one that actually gives them a shot at an education.