New statistics make Joel Klein happy. That’s probably because regardless of what the data says or whether it’s later proven false, New York City Schools chancellor Joel Klein will find a way to be proud of it. Remember those years when he thought he closed the racial achievement gap? Now, Klein is excited about the latest SAT scores for New York City students, despite the fact that, well, they didn’t really rise. The average score for the graduating class of 2010 stayed the same in reading at 501, went up one point in math to 516, and dropped one point in writing to 492. That’s 174 points lower than the national average and 12 points lower than the average score New York City achieved in 2006. In fact, as the Journal has noted, “The sole bright spot was the performance of Asian-Americans.”
Asian students in New York went up three points in reading, four points in math, and six points in writing from the previous year. Officials from the College Board attributed the increase, which is even larger if you look at the numbers since 2000, to students taking four years of science in high school, and taking calculus. Wait a second, taking a science class is now optional?! We are screwed.
But don’t expect any hand-wringing over the overall drop from Klein. In a statement, he wrote, “With a shift toward higher standards and the increasing demands of a global economy, progress on the SATs and in AP courses could not come at a better time.”
What the latest numbers really suggest is that despite the good news that more black and Hispanic students are taking the test — over the past four years, there’s been a 35 percent increase among black students and a 54 percent increase for Hispanic students — the racial divide between scores of white and Asian students versus black and Hispanic students is still widening.