ProPublica, which describes itself as “journalism in the public interest,” has a study out on America’s “opportunity gap.” Using data from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, it analyzed whether school districts offer students access to advanced classes in math, science, and A.P. courses. Three-quarters of all public school children are represented in the analysis. The smallest opportunity gap is in Florida, which has the largest percentage of kids enrolled in advanced classes across both wealthy and poor districts. Laggards are Kansas, Maryland and Oklahoma.
How does Jersey stack up? Not so bad: check out the data yourself. But the lead article in the study uses us as a “stark example” of the opportunity gap when comparing opportunities for advanced academics at Trenton Central High, Millburn Senior High, and International High in Paterson. At Trenton Central 58% of kids qualify for free and reduced lunch. In Millburn it’s 1% and at Paterson it’s 85%. At Trenton Central High, 2% of students take at least one A.P. course over their four years in high school and 4% take advanced math. In Millburn, 72% take at least one A.P. course and 21% take advanced math. In Paterson 1% of the students take at least one A.P. course and 7% take advanced math.