Only 19 students in the public school system in Paterson, N.J. who have taken the SAT scored high enough to be considered college ready, local Fox affiliate WWOR-TV reports.
At the same time, 66 employees in the Paterson school district each soak taxpayers for salaries of at least $125,000 per year, the Paterson Press reports.
According to the College Board, which markets the perpetually-changing SAT, a college-ready score on the test is 1500, which is essentially the average cumulative score on the standardized test’s three sections (currently called reading, math and writing).
You get 600 points for signing your name. (A perfect score is 2400.)
Paterson is no tiny town. It is, in fact, the third-largest city in New Jersey. The population is roughly 146,000 people. The population is about 60 percent Hispanic and 26 percent black, according to City-Data.com.
The city boasts some 50 public schools altogether. There are over 24,000 total students in all grades.
Rosie Grant, executive director if the Paterson Education Fund, said high school students in the city’s public schools have been forced to deal with years of managerial messes.
“These kids who are now seniors have gone through seven superintendents in their tenure at Paterson public schools and with every administration change, there’s a reworking of what the schools are supposed to be doing,” Grant told WWOR.
Students also have to deal with a lot of challenges outside of school.
Paterson’s residents suffer from the eighth-highest rate of violent crime (just over one percent) in The Garden State, NJ.com notes.
Camden is New Jersey’s violent crime per capita epicenter. The rate is a stunning 2.5 percent.
In December 2013, Camden’s then-new superintendent of public schools announced that only three — THREE! — students in the entire district who took the SAT during the 2011-12 academic year scored high enough to qualify as college-ready. (RELATED: Just THREE Kids In Camden, NJ Scored College-Ready)
Speaking to the school board and members of the community, Paymon Rouhanifard described finding out about the low number as a “kick-in-the-stomach moment.”
Back in Paterson, school officials say they have cleverly dealt with their nearly complete failure to prepare students for college entrance exams by no longer using the SAT to assess student achievement.