Cross-posted from the Local Knowledge Blog. Promoted by Rosi.
I’ve been eagerly awaiting Rutgers PhD candidate Mark Weber’s analysis of the Camden school closures. Many of you know Mark as Jersey Jazzman, but he’s also doing work with Dr. Bruce Baker at Rutgers, New Brunswick. His policy brief on the school closures is an important document (and an important public work). It pokes holes in the District’s narrative that this was primarily about “struggling schools” (Mark’s regression shows that McGraw was the highest achieving school in the district given math scores). The district still hasn’t released its own analysis, and frankly, if the two were to disagree it would fuel the fire that such measures aren’t a reliable way to understand quality. But I want to focus on something more fundamental here. Mark’s analysis shows that the two schools with the highest percentage of African-American teachers are being closed, and that black teachers are 1.6 times more likely to be in these closing schools than white teachers. Teachers with 15 to 24 years of experience are more than 3 times more likely to “face an employment consequence.” Those numbers should give pause to those of us concerned about having a diverse, stable and experienced teaching contingent here in Camden. It also sends a dangerous message to students.