Gist Reacts to RI SAT Scores
State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is still in what may be termed a discovery phase of her new job — working her way through Rhode Island’s abysmal statistics. To the extent that process is made public, she’s already doing important work, and today, she’s put our low SAT scores on the front page of the Providence Journal:
Gist said that she is also disappointed that the percentage of public school students taking the voluntary test is so low, at just 54 percent.
(About 2,800 private and parochial school students also took the SAT, raising the statewide average by about 10 points per subject.)
Usually, test scores drop as the number of students taking the test increases. Rhode Island, Gist said, suffers from lackluster scores even with a frustratingly low number of students aspiring to take the test — a requirement for most colleges.
As we showed, here, last August, Rhode Island joins an average median income (by national standards) with high public school teacher pay, high private school attendance, low public school SAT scores, and high private school SAT scores. Every marker points to a systemic problem, originating with teachers unions. That’s why I hope the following comment from Gist is more political flourish than indication of dogma on which she’ll premise future actions:
“We need to make sure we are developing and supporting teachers,” she said, “and we need to make sure we are moving out educators who are not serving students well, which I believe is a small percentage of teachers.”
A “small percentage of teachers” have dragged Rhode Island’s SAT scores to their current standing as the worst in New England? I don’t think so.