Group says not enough middle school students making the grade in city, BX

An educational coalition is throwing the book at New York City for not enough seventh and eighth-graders meeting standards in the Bronx and the rest of the city.A report by the Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ) says just 22 percent of eighth-grade students in high poverty areas are meeting state reading standards, but 58 percent in low poverty areas are. The report also says just one in four of the city's African-American and Hispanic students graduate with a Regents diploma.The group says the Department of Education is to blame and that underperforming schools don't get teachers as qualified as in other areas. A spokesman for the Department of Education says middle school years are important and it is pumping in $40 million to create large middle schools into smaller learning communities.CEJ is a community group made up of parents, members of the clergy, elected officials and other members.

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