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Justice Democrats-backed House candidate Jamaal Bowman has said, "Congress should be a piece of cake" given his experience as a Bronx principal. But 9 out of 10 students in his school have flunked state tests, according to New York City Department of Education data.
Bowman is challenging Rep. Eliot Engel (D., N.Y.) in New York's 16th Congressional District with support from Justice Democrats, the same group that championed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's congressional bid. Bowman has centered his campaign on his 15-year experience as an educator. But the children who study under Bowman at Cornerstone Academy for Social Action (CASA) Middle School have drastically underperformed in recent years. About 90 percent of his pupils failed to meet standards on the state math exam in the 2017-18 academic year, according to the latest annual data available from the city's Department of Education. That rate represented a precipitous decline from the 2016-17 academic year, during which 74 percent of the student population failed the math test.
Bowman's students performed far worse than their peers: 38 percent of city students and 27 percent of those located in the same school district passed the math test as opposed to the 11 percent in Bowman's school. Close to one-fifth of CASA students who failed the exam would have passed if they went to a different school, according to statistics compiled by the city.
CASA students performed better in state English examinations. More than 30 percent of the student population passed the test, but those results still fell short of their peers across the city and school district.
While a variety of factors contribute to a school's academic performance, Bowman has exhibited a hostile attitude toward standardized testing. He called standardized tests "modern day slavery" and compared education assessments to crack cocaine, as the New York Post first reported.
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