Twenty Percent of Camden’s 3d – 8th Graders are “Competent Readers”

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Yesterday the State Board of Education approved the DOE’s takeover of Camden City Public Schools. The Courier-Post reports that the vote was “perfunctory” rather than “dramatic. Here’s the Post’s description of Ed. Commissioner Cerf’s remarks to the Board:

“Camden is the lowest-performing district in New Jersey, with 14 of the 21 lowest-performing schools in the state,” Cerf said.
Twenty-three of Camden’s 26 schools are classified as “priority schools,” meaning they’re among the bottom 5 percent for the last three years in math and reading scores. Nineteen percent of the district’s elementary-school pupils passed state standardized tests.
“Let’s just stop to think what that means,” Cerf said. “That is, our third- through eighth-graders, only 20 percent of them are competent readers, that is reading frankly even approaching grade level.”
New Jersey spent $276 million on state aid to Camden schools this year, 88 percent of the district’s budget. The local tax levy provides 2.4 percent.
In all, the district spends around $5,000 more per pupil than the state average, Cerf said.

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