This week students in Newark, Montclair and South Orange, N.J. walked out of class. They were protesting Governor Christie’s proposed education cuts. The walkouts were organized in part via Facebook and a college student who attended high school in Bergen County.
And now there is even worse news. Only ten percent of high school students taking the Alternative Graduation Exam passed language arts and 34 percent passed math. This exam is given only to those students who fail the traditional High School Proficiency Exam. For years, the “alternative” has been a subject of controversy. Districts graded their own exams. And nearly everyone passed.
Before protesting school budget cuts students might note. The state spends an average of nearly $14,000 per pupil. And teachers salaries average $58,000. Over 9,000 high school seniors can’t pass a basic reading test.