The Demographics of PARCC Opposition

Jim O'Neill, the Interim Superintendent of Livingston Public Schools, explains his opposition to PARCC assessments:
Since New Jersey students have always done well by all comparative data and standardized metrics (NAEP, SATs, AP tests, etc.) it's puzzling that our schools needed a massive overhaul in everything from teacher and administrator evaluations to excessive student testing. High taxes notwithstanding, families move here to take advantage of great public schools.
Well, sure, if they can afford to live in Livingston where the median family income is $133,271 a year and where, according to Trulia, the average listing price for homes for sale this week is $928,300. Livingston High School  enrolls a total of 1.3% of students who are educationally advantaged and only 0.3% are English Language Learners.  And, indeed, Livingston High School "have always done well by all comparative data and standardized metrics"; 75% of students score 1550 or higher on SAT’s (average: 572 in reading and 610 in math). Only 59% take A.P. tests, but that’s because the school also offers an International Baccalaureate program

Thirteen miles away from Livingston is the town of Irvington, where 66.1% of students live in poverty and 18% of children have limited English proficiency.  Median family income is  $41,511 and the average listing price for homes this week was $123,631 . At Irvington High School (a relatively decent school district, by the way) 5.7% of students score  1550 or higher on SAT (average: 374 in reading and 379 in math) and  11% take an AP test

And Newark is only twelve miles from Irvington.’

Note to Superintendent O’Neill: Irvington and Newark are also in New Jersey. Parents don’t typically move there “to take advantage of great public schools.”

It’s easy to oppose PARCC tests if you are wealthy enough to live in  Livingston and send your kids to its fine schools. Livingston, in fact, had some of the highest opt-out numbers in the state. But to suggest that Livingston students’ academic success is somehow representative of all N.J. students is, at best, blithe and solipsistic.

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