JUST THE FACTS New Jersey - US Chamber of Commerce Foundation

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JUST THE FACTS New Jersey - US Chamber of Commerce Foundation
       New Jersey
JUST THE FACTS New Jersey - US Chamber of Commerce Foundation
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JUST THE FACTS New Jersey - US Chamber of Commerce Foundation
New Jersey                                                                                    1

Are ALL children receiving a
high-quality education in New Jersey?
Not yet.
Many students are doing well in New Jersey. The state ranks second in the nation in
fourth and eighth grade reading and has a relatively high four-year high school graduation
rate of 86.5%. However, many students are still being left behind, as evidenced by large
achievement gaps. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP),
New Jersey has some of the nation’s largest achievement gaps between low-income
children and those from more affluent families.1 Too many children attend schools where
most students aren’t proficient in reading and math and 25% of low-income students aren’t
graduating from high school on time. Additionally, in some community colleges, 90% of
entering students require remediation.2
Unfortunately, parents have few options when looking for a better education for their
children. The 18-year-old state charter school law requires updating. New Jersey parents have
limited inter-district public school choice options available and there are no scholarships
for low-income students to attend private schools. Parents also lack basic information that
enables them to compare their children’s schools to others.
In order to improve student achievement, the state is working to implement a new
accountability system that will better identify low-performing schools and provide transparent
school data to parents and the community. New Jersey is also on track to implement college-
and career-ready standards and assessments.
In 2012, major reforms were enacted to restructure teacher tenure and permit removal of
ineffective teachers, regardless of tenure status. Governor Chris Christie has developed and
proposed a program that would create opportunity scholarships for students in failing schools,
and efforts are underway in the legislature to strengthen the state’s charter school law. While
these are promising steps, there is still a tremendous amount to do to close achievement gaps.
New Jersey needs to continue to move forward with implementing its reform efforts so that all
children have access to a quality education.
JUST THE FACTS New Jersey - US Chamber of Commerce Foundation
New Jersey                                                                                                     2

                                    New Jersey Schools at a Glance3
 Total enrollment                                                                1,361,813
 Number of schools                                                                 2,500
 Number of school districts                                                         590
 Number of charter schools                                                           86
 Students who receive free or reduced lunch                                        32.8%
 White                                                                             51.5%
 Black                                                                             16.7%
 Hispanic                                                                          22.1%
 Asian                                                                             8.7%
 Native American/Pacific Islander                                                  0.2%
 English Language Learners                                                         3.8%
 Four-Year Graduation Rate                                                         86.5%
 Has the state received a No Child Left Behind waiver?                              YES
 Is the state a Race to the Top Grant recipient?                             YES (third cohort)

How are New Jersey                                       Not enough students graduate from
schools failing the business                             high school prepared for college or the
New Jersey needs more educated                            • Eighty-six percent of all students statewide and
workers to fill high-skill jobs.                            75% of low-income students graduate from high
                                                            school in four years.9
 • Sixty-six percent of jobs in New Jersey will           • Fourteen of the state’s high schools are
   require a career certificate or degree by 2020,          considered “dropout factories” because
   but only 46% of adults in the state currently            graduation rates were 60% or below from
   have these qualifications.4                              2008–2010.10
 • By 2018, the number of STEM jobs in New Jersey         • Only 18% of the class of 2012 achieved a score
   will increase by 11%.5                                   on the ACT that indicated they are ready for
 • Of students who enroll in four-year public               college-level courses, compared to a national
   postsecondary institutions, only 66% graduate in         average of 25%.11
   six years.6                                            • If New Jersey’s high schools prepared students
 • On average, a high school graduate in New Jersey         for college, the state could save as much as
   earns $11,650 more each year than a high school          $121 million in college remediation costs and
   dropout. In 2011, approximately 83,500 students          lost earnings.12
   did not graduate from high school, equaling lost
   lifetime earnings of $2.6 billion.7
 • If half of New Jersey’s dropouts had managed
   to graduate, the additional spending and
   investments by these graduates would be
   enough to support as many as 900 new jobs and
   increase the gross state product by as much as
   $180 million by the time they would reach their
   career midpoints.8
New Jersey                                                                                                                                                           3

 New Jersey High School Graduation Rates,                                                    New Jersey 2011 NAEP and 2012 ASK
              Class of 2012                                                                                Scores
   Four-Year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate                                          Percentage of Students Who are Not Proficient
100           95%                                                                     100
 90     86%                                                                            90
 80                 75% 77%      73% 75% 74%                                           80
                                                                  All Students
 70                                                               Asian                70
                                                                  Black                                                                                   NAEP Reading
 60                                                               Latino               60     56%                        55%                              ASK Reading
                                                                                                                                     53%                  NAEP Math
 50                                                               Limited English
                                                                  Proficiency (LEP)                                                                       ASK Math
                                                                  Students                         42%
 40                                                                                    40
                                                                  Native American
                                                                  White                30                                                  28%
 20                                                                                    20                                      18%
 10                                                                                    10
                        Class of 2012                                                    0
                                                                                                    Grade 4                    Grade 8
Source: New Jersey Department of Education, http://www.state.nj.us/education/
news/2012/1205grad.htm                                                                Source: NAEP, http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/states/; New Jersey Department
                                                                                      of Education, http://www.state.nj.us/education/schools/achievement/2013/njask4/

Not enough students attend high-
quality schools and meet standards for
proficiency in reading and math.                                                      What is New Jersey doing to
                                                                                      improve schools and prepare
   • As New Jersey prepares to complete the
     implementation of college- and career-ready
                                                                                      students to meet college- and
     standards and aligned assessments, its NAEP                                      career-ready standards?
     scores show that most students are not proficient
     in reading and math, despite high passing scores                                 Implementing state standards and
     on state tests.                                                                  assessments aligned to college- and
   • New Jersey faces significant socioeconomic                                       career-ready standards.
     achievement gaps. On the NAEP assessment,
     77% of low-income, fourth-grade students are not                                 New Jersey adopted the Common Core State
     proficient in reading compared to 45% for their                                  Standards (CCSS) in English language arts and math in
     more affluent peers. Seventy-six percent of low-                                 June 2010.15 The state is on track to implement these
     income, eighth-grade students are not proficient                                 standards by the 2013–14 school year and aligned
     in math, compared to 41% for non-disadvantaged                                   assessments by the 2014–15 school year.16
     students. Sixty-one percent of economically
     disadvantaged fourth graders are below proficient                                   3 Common Core State Standards in reading
     in reading on the New Jersey Assessment of Skills                                     and math. The state developed a model
     and Knowledge (ASK) compared to 30% of non-                                           curriculum for the 2012–13 school year, and will
     disadvantaged students.13                                                             make improvements and modifications for the
   • Tens of thousands of students attend school where                                     2013–14 school year based on feedback collected
     only a small fraction of students are proficient in                                   during this school year.17
     reading and math on the state assessment.14
New Jersey                                                                                                       4

  3 Assessments aligned to CCSS. New Jersey                  in schools identified as priority or focus schools.
    is a governing state in the Partnership for the          Approximately 5% will be identified as priority
    Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers          schools, the lowest category based on absolute
    (PARCC) and plans to transition to the PARCC             achievement or graduation rates. Priority schools
    assessment by the 2014–2015 school year.                 will receive intense, mandatory interventions and
                                                             supports. Focus schools, approximately 10% of
                                                             schools, will be identified as a school where one
  What to Watch:                                             or more subgroup has very low achievement or
                                                             lags significantly behind other groups of students.
  ? Staying the course. Will New Jersey and each             Those schools will receive targeted interventions
    individual district maintain its commitment to the       and supports, based on the subgroups that need
    timeline for implementing CCSS standards and             support. Districts are not required to offer public
    the PARCC assessments?                                   school choice to students attending the lowest-
  ? Will increased standards and assessments                 achieving schools, but a RAC may identify tutoring
    lead to improved college and career                      educational services before or after school in order
    readiness? As a result of increased                      to provide extended learning time opportunities.
    expectations, will more students graduate ready        3 High school accountability. New Jersey will
    to attain postsecondary credentials to meet the          report on college and career readiness at the high
    demands of the labor market?                             school level. Indicators in this measure include
                                                             SAT participation rates and scores, Advanced
                                                             Placement participation rates and scores, and the
Holding all schools accountable for                          percentage of career and technical students who
meeting state standards.                                     pass an industry exam.19
                                                           3 Transparent school and district grading
Under its approved NCLB waiver, New Jersey has               reports. Currently, NJDOE provides limited
designed a new accountability system focused                 information on its website about school and district
on college and career readiness and reducing the             performance. As part of their new accountability
achievement gap. In this system, Regional Achievement        system, however, the NJDOE is designing a new
Centers (RACs) will lead the effort to turn around the       school and district level performance report that will
state’s lowest-performing schools. Master educators          provide clear information to the public on student
will lead these offices and are accountable for student      performance and college and career readiness.
achievement gains in their respective regions. In            The “School Score Card” will serve as a summary
addition to sanctions for low-performing schools, the        report of the many metrics in the performance
state has created a category of Reward Schools that will     report. There will be four performance areas
receive up to $100,000 in extra funds.18                     reported for high schools: academic achievement,
                                                             college and career readiness, graduation rates
  3 High-achievement goals. New Jersey has set               and postsecondary outcomes, and progress
    annual measurable objectives (AMOs) based on             toward closing achievement gaps. Each area will
    reducing, by half, the percentage of students who        summarize the percentage of the performance
    are not proficient by 2017.                              targets met, how a school’s performance compares
  3 Accountability for all students. New Jersey              to schools that are educating a similar student
    will set targets and measure school and district         population, and how a school compares to the state
    progress for all student subgroups.                      as a whole. These reports will be available for all
  3 Consequences for low-performing schools                  schools by early 2013.
    and districts. New Jersey will directly intervene
New Jersey                                                                                                                        5

                       School Score Card                                      Improving teacher effectiveness.
                                                  Percentage of
 Performance          Statewide       Peer School Performance                 In October of 2010, Governor Christie launched
 Indicators           Ranking         Ranking     Targets Met                 the Educator Effectiveness Task Force, designed
 Academic                                                                     to recommend a fair and transparent system of
                          82%             17%                 50%
 Achievement                                                                  educator evaluations that centers on student
 College/Career                                                               learning and that leads to substantial and lasting
                          82%             78%                 25%
 Readiness                                                                    improvements in public education. The goal of
 Graduation/                                                                  the system is to provide actionable information to
                          95%             10%                 25%
 Post secondary
                                                                              schools, parents, taxpayers, and policymakers so that
 Closing                                                                      New Jersey is better positioned to help educators
 Achievement              65%              5%                 33%
 Gaps                                                                         improve, rethink compensation plans, and reform
 Improvement                                                                  tenure policy.
 Rationale            Achievement Gaps                                        In August 2012, New Jersey also passed the Teacher
 Change Since                                                                 Effectiveness and Accountability for the Children of
 Last Year                Improvement          No Change         Decline      New Jersey (TEACHNJ) Act, which reforms the state’s
                                                                              teacher tenure policies.
Source: U.S. Department of Education. (2012). ESEA Flexibility Request: New
Jersey. http://www2.ed.gov/policy/eseaflex/approved-requests/nj.pdf.
                                                                              The state’s new policy framework for promoting
                                                                              effective teaching includes:

  What to Watch                                                                 3 Annual evaluation of all teachers. New
                                                                                  Jersey requires that all teachers receive annual
  ? Availability of school and district grading                                   performance evaluations.20
    reports. The current system is unable to provide                            3 Evaluating teachers based on student
    parent-friendly school grading reports for the                                results. New Jersey now requires that measures
    most recent school year. Will the new online                                  of teacher practice, which includes objective
    system have all of the data promised in the                                   evidence of student learning and student growth,
    waiver application?                                                           are included in teacher evaluations.21
  ? The lowest achieving schools need to                                        3 Tenure based on teacher performance.
    get better! Too many students are in poorly                                   In order to receive tenure, new teachers in
    performing schools. Will the interventions for                                New Jersey will be required to complete a
    struggling schools and districts help? Will the                               one-year mentorship program and then be
    accountability system identify the right schools,                             rated “effective” or “highly effective” on their
    particularly after the transition to new standards                            summative evaluations for two of their first three
    and assessments?                                                              years of employment.22
                                                                                3 Dismissal for ineffective teaching. A teacher
                                                                                  receiving a rating of “ineffective” or “partially
                                                                                  effective” in an annual summative evaluation
                                                                                  followed by an “ineffective” rating the following
                                                                                  year will be charged with inefficiency, which is
                                                                                  grounds for dismissal in New Jersey.23
New Jersey                                                                                                   6

  6 Pay for performance. While local boards of          3 Charter school law. New Jersey permits charter
    education have authority to increase teacher          schools and does not limit the growth of charter
    salaries, New Jersey does not have any policies       schools in the state. Proposed legislation would
    to promote compensation that rewards effective        expand the pool of charter authorizers and the
    teachers with higher salaries or bonuses for          Governor has proposed an increase in funds
    exemplary performance.24                              for new schools. New Jersey only requires that
  6 Compensation for teachers who teach                   school districts provide public schools with
    in high-needs schools or shortage-area                90% of state and local general revenues than
    subjects. New Jersey does not have policies           the school would receive for its students as a
    linking teacher salaries or bonuses to teachers       traditional public school.
    taking on assignments in high-need schools or       6 Parent trigger. New Jersey does not have a law
    shortage-subject areas. 25                            that allows parents to convert a low-performing
                                                          school to a charter school.
                                                        3 Public school choice. New Jersey permits
  What to Watch:                                          interdistrict school choice at no cost to families in
                                                          109 “Choice Districts.” District participation in the
  ? Collective bargaining. New Jersey’s evaluation        program, however, is optional.26
    regulations mandate that districts implement new    6 Private school vouchers. New Jersey does not
    robust evaluation systems in the 2012–13 and          offer private school scholarships. The Governor’s
    2013–14 school years. However, the regulations        proposed budget for 2013–14 school year
    will not override conflicting provisions of any       includes $2 million to create a pilot ”opportunity
    collective bargaining agreement in effect at          scholarship” program, that would allow
    the time of passage. Rather, the regulations will     approximately 200 children to transfer from low-
    apply when the agreement expires and a new            performing public schools to private schools.27
    agreement is in place.                              6 Online Learning. New Jersey does not have
                                                          online learning opportunities for its students.
                                                          Two virtual schools have received preliminary
What options are available for                            approval from the state, but they were put
parents who want something                                on hold last year. In addition, the New Jersey
                                                          Education Association has gone to court to try to
better for their child?                                   block them.28
School choice, charter schools, and
online learning.
                                                        What to Watch:
New Jersey lacks options for students looking
to attend better-performing schools. In order to        ? Will the state legislature expand choice
expand choice options, Governor Chris Christie            options? Will the legislature pass legislation
and supporters of charter schools have worked to          strengthening charters and enact the Governor’s
strengthen the state’s charter school law and to          proposed opportunity scholarships?
create a private school choice program for students
in failing schools.
New Jersey                                                                                                   7

How are state education                                  The State Board adopts the administrative code,
leaders selected?                                        which sets the rules needed to implement state
                                                         education law. The State Board also advises on
State education governance in                            educational policies proposed by the Commissioner
New Jersey.                                              and confirms Department of Education staff
                                                         appointments made by the Commissioner.
Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf was appointed
by the Governor in 2010. The Commissioner of             For more information see: http://www.state.nj.us/
Education is the chief executive school officer of New   education/sboe/.
Jersey and supervises all public schools. He is also a
member of the Governor’s cabinet, and confirmed by       How to get involved:
the New Jersey Senate.
                                                         Contact the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce:
The New Jersey State Board of Education has 13           http://www.njchamber.com
members who are appointed by the Governor and
confirmed by the New Jersey State Senate. These
members serve without compensation for six-year
terms. At least three members of the State Board
must be women, and no two members may be
appointed from the same county.
New Jersey                                                                                                                         8

1    National Center for Education Statistics. (n.d.). NAEP State   17   NJDOE (n.d.). Welcome to the New Jersey’ Department
     Comparisons. Retrieved March 1, 2013, from http://nces.             of Education’s Model Curriculum! Retrieved February 28,
     ed.gov/nationsreportcard/statecomparisons/.                         2013, from http://www.state.nj.us/education/modelcur-
2    U.S. Department of Education. (2012). ESEA Flexibility
     Request: New Jersey. Retrieved February 28, 2013, from         18   U.S. Department of Education. (2012). ESEA Flexibility
     http://www2.ed.gov/policy/eseaflex/approved-requests/               Request: New Jersey. Retrieved February 28, 2013, from
     nj.pdf.                                                             http://www2.ed.gov/policy/eseaflex/approved-requests/
3    State of New Jersey, Department of Education. (n.d.). New
     Jersey Public Schools Fact Sheet. Retrieved February 26,       19   Ibid.
     2013, from http://www.state.nj.us/education/data/fact.         20   National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). State Teacher
     htm.                                                                Policy Yearbook 2011. Retrieved March 4, 2013, from www.
4    Complete College America. (2011). New Jersey 2011.                  nctq.org.
     Retrieved February 26, 2013, from http://www.com-              21   U.S. Department of Education. (2012). ESEA Flexibility
     pletecollege.org/docs/New_Jersey.pdf.                               Request: New Jersey.
5    Anthony Carnevale, Nicole Smith, and Michelle Milton.          22   See http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2012/Bills/A3500/3060_
     (October 2011). STEM State-Level Analysis. Retrieved                U1.PDF.
     February 4, 2013, from http://cew.georgetown.edu/
     stem/states.                                                   23   See http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2012/Bills/A3500/3060_
                                                                         U1.PDF and NCTQ State Teacher Policy Yearbook Brief:
6    Ibid.                                                               Making Effectiveness Matter (2012) at: http://www.nctq.
7    Alliance for Excellent Education. (2012). New Jersey High           org/p/publications/docs/YearbookBrief_Area5.pdf.
     Schools. Retrieved February 26, 2013, from http://www.         24   Students First. (2013). New Jersey State Policy Report Card
     all4ed.org/files/NewJersey_hs.pdf.                                  2013. Retrieved March 4, 2013, from http://reportcard.
8    Alliance for Excellent Education. (2011). Education and the         studentsfirst.org/state-detail?state=New%20Jersey.
     Economy: Boosting New Jersey’s Economy by Improving            25   Ibid.
     High School Graduation Rates. Retrieved February 26,
     2013, from http://www.all4ed.org/files/NewJersey_seb.pdf.      26   NJDOE. (n.d.). Interdistrict Public School Choice Program.
                                                                         Retrieved February 28, 2013, from http://www.nj.gov/edu-
9    New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE). (2012). New             cation/choice/.
     Jersey High School Graduation Rate Increases to 86% in
     2011–12 School Year, While Turnaround Schools Make             27   NJ.com. (2013). School vouchers, aid increase, included in
     Significant Gains Across the State. Retrieved                       Christie budget. Retrieved February 28, 2013, from http://
     February 26, 2013, from http://www.state.nj.us/education/           www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2013/02/school_vouch-
     news/2012/1205grad.htm.                                             ers_aid_increase_i.html.

10   Alliance for Excellent Education. (2012). New Jersey High      28   NJ Spotlight. (2013). Charter-School Reform, On Back
     Schools. Retrieved February 26, 2013, from http://www.              Burner, Starts to Heat Up Again. Retrieved February 28,
     all4ed.org/files/NewJersey_hs.pdf.                                  2013, from http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/13/02/27/
11   ACT. (2012). The Condition of College & Career Readi-               again/.
     ness 2012: New Jersey. Retrieved February 24, 2013, from
12   Alliance for Excellent Education. (2012). New Jersey High
     Schools. Retrieved February 26, 2013, from http://www.
13   National Center for Education Statistics. (n.d.). 2011 NAEP
     Scores. Retrieved February 11, 2013, from http://nces.
14   U.S. Department of Education. (2012). ESEA Flexibility
     Request: New Jersey. Retrieved February 28, 2013, from
15   Ibid.
16   Ibid.
Institute for a Competitive Workforce
      U.S. Chamber of Commerce
    National Chamber Foundation
           1615 H Street NW
         Washington, DC 20062
          Phone: 202-463-5525
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