Public education in New Jersey
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- 1 State agencies
- 2 Regional comparison
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Academic performance
- 5 Educational choice options
- 6 Education funding and expenditures
- 7 Organizations
- 8 Taxpayer-funded lobbying
- 9 Studies and reports
- 10 Issues
- 11 School districts
- 12 Education ballot measures
- 13 Recent news
- 14 See also
- 15 External links
- 16 References
List of school districts in New Jersey
Public education in New Jersey
School board elections portal
The New Jersey State Board of Education has 13 members who are appointed by the governor with the consent of the New Jersey State Senate. Members serve six-year terms without compensation. The State Board of Education also includes a nonvoting student representative who is selected annually by the New Jersey Association of Student Councils. The New Jersey Commissioner of Education serves as the State Board of Education's secretary and official agent. As chief executive school officer, the Commissioner of Education is part of the governor's cabinet. The current Commissioner of Education is David Hespe.
The mission statement of the New Jersey State Board of Education reads:
|“||Provide leadership to achieve excellence in New Jersey public education. Engage legislators, school administrators, teachers, students, parents, and other stakeholders in formulating policies that enhance education, empower families, and broaden opportunities for students.||”|
Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The New Jersey State Board of Education adopted these standards on June 23, 2010, and fully implemented them during the 2013-2014 school year.
- See also: General comparison table for education statistics in the 50 states and Education spending per pupil in all 50 states
The following chart shows how New Jersey compares to three neighboring states with respect to number of students, schools, the number of teachers per pupil, and the number of administrators per pupil. Further comparisons between these states with respect to performance and financial information are given in other sections of this page.
|State||Schools||Districts||Students||Teachers||Teacher/pupil ratio||Administrator/pupil ratio||Per pupil spending|
| Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a.|
National Center for Education Statistics, Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12
The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in New Jersey as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.
|Demographic Information for New Jersey's K-12 Public School System|
|Ethnicity||Students||State Percentage||United States Percentage**|
|Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. Students||3,153||0.23%||0.42%|
|Two or More||11,429||0.84%||2.54%|
|**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.|
Enrollments by region type
Over 80 percent of New Jersey students attend suburban schools. Though students in both Delaware and Pennsylvania are also most likely to attend suburban schools, the percentage of their students attending them is just over 45 percent. In New York, students are more likely to attend city schools than suburban schools. For more comparisons, look to the table below.
|Student distribution by region type, 2011 - 2012 (as percents)|
|State||City schools||Suburban schools||Town schools||Rural Schools|
|Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD) (timed out)|
- See also: NAEP scores by state
The National Center for Education Statistics provides state-by-state data on student achievement levels in mathematics and reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Compared to three neighboring states (Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania), New Jersey had the highest percentage of students performing at or above proficient in math and reading in both fourth grade and eighth grade.
|Percent of students scoring at or above proficient, 2012-2013|
|Math - Grade 4||Math - Grade 8||Reading - Grade 4||Reading - Grade 8|
|NAEP assessment data for all students 2012-2013|
Graduation, ACT and SAT scores
|Comparison table for graduation rates and test scores*|
|State||Graduation rate, 2012||Average ACT Composite, 2012||Average SAT Composite, 2013|
|Percent||Quintile ranking**||Score||Participation rate||Score||Participation rate|
| *Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Rate (except for Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, which did not report “Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate,” but instead used their own method of calculation).|
**Graduation rates for states in the first quintile ranked in the top 20 percent nationally. Similarly, graduation rates for states in the fifth quintile ranked in the bottom 20 percent nationally.
Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express
- See also: Public high school dropout rates by state for a full comparison of dropout rates by group in all states
The high school event dropout rate indicates the proportion of students who were enrolled at some time during the school year and were expected to be enrolled in grades 9–12 in the following school year but were not enrolled by October 1 of the following school year. Students who have graduated, transferred to another school, died, moved to another country, or who are out of school due to illness are not considered dropouts. The average public high school event dropout rate for the United States remained constant at 3.3 percent for both SY 2010–11 and SY 2011–12. The event dropout rate for New Jersey was lower than the national average at 1.4 percent in the 2010-2011 school year, and 1.4 percent in the 2011-2012 school year.
Educational choice options
- See also: School choice in New Jersey
Education funding and expenditures
- See also: New Jersey state budget and finances
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), the state spent approximately 24.7 percent of its fiscal year 2012 budget on elementary and secondary education. This is up 0.5 percentage points, a 0.2 percent increase in the share of the budget from fiscal year 2008, when the state spent 24.2 percent of its budget on elementary and secondary education. Over half of New Jersey's education revenue comes from local funding. State funding accounts for approximately 37 percent, and federal funding accounts for just over five percent.
|Comparison of financial figures for school systems|
|State||Percent of budget (2012)||Per pupil spending (2011)||Revenue sources (2011)|
|Percent federal funds||Percent state funds||Percent local funds|
| Sources:NASBO, "State Expenditure Report," Table 8: Elementary and Secondary Education Expenditures As a Percent of Total Expenditures |
U.S. Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011,Governments Division Reports," issued May 2013
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system revenues in New Jersey totaled approximately $25.7 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including revenue sources, for New Jersey and surrounding states.
|Revenues by source, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Federal revenue||State revenue||Local revenue||Total revenue|
|Public school revenues by source, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system expenditures in New Jersey totaled approximately $25 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including expenditure types, for New Jersey and surrounding states.
|Expenditures by type, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Current expenditures**||Capital outlay||Other***||Total expenditures|
| **Funds spent operating local public schools and local education agencies, including such expenses as salaries for school personnel, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs, but excluding capital outlay, interest on school debt, payments to private schools, and payments to public charter schools.|
***Includes payments to state and local governments, payments to private schools, interest on school system indebtedness, and nonelementary-secondary expenditures, such as adult education and community services expenditures.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
|Public school expenditures, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average national salary for classroom teachers in public elementary and secondary schools has declined by 1.3 percent from the 1999-2000 school year to the 2012-2013 school year. During the same period in New Jersey, the average salary decreased by 3.2 percent.
|Estimated average salaries for teachers (in constant dollars**)|
|**"Constant dollars based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to a school-year basis. The CPI does not account for differences in inflation rates from state to state."|
In 2012, the Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now assessed the power and influence of state teacher unions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their rankings were based on 37 different variables in five broad areas, including: resources and membership, involvement in politics, scope of bargaining, state policies and perceived influence. New Jersey ranked 7th overall, or strongest, which was in the first tier of five.
The main union related to the New Jersey school system is the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA). NJEA is the largest education association in the state.
List of local New Jersey school unions:
- New Jersey Education Association
- Newark Teachers Union
- New Jersey State Federation of Teachers
- Perth Amboy Federation AFT
- Federation of Rowan College Educators
- Upper Montclair AFT
- William Paterson Federation of College Teachers Local 1796
- See also: New Jersey government sector lobbying
The main education government sector lobbying organization is the New Jersey School Boards Association.
Studies and reports
Quality Counts 2014
- See also: Quality Counts 2014 Report
Education Week, a publication that reports on many education issues throughout the country, began using an evaluation system in 1997 to grade each state on various elements of education performance. This system, called Quality Counts, uses official data on performance from each state to generate a report card for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report card in 2014 uses six different categories:
- Chance for success
- K-12 achievement
- Standards, assessments and accountability
- The teaching profession
- School finance
- Transitions and Alignment
Each of these six categories had a number of other elements that received individual scores. Those scores were then averaged and used to determine the final score in each category. Every state received two types of scores for each of the six major categories: A numerical score out of 100 and a letter grade based on that score. Education Week used the score for the first category, "chance for success," as the value for ranking each state and the District of Columbia. The average grade received in the entire country was 77.3, or a C+ average. The country's highest average score was in the category of "standards, assessments and accountability" at 85.3, or a B average. The lowest average score was in "K-12 achievement", at 70.2, or a C- average.
New Jersey received a score of 88.2, or a B+ average in the "chance for success" category. This was above the national average. Except for the "chance for success" category, the state's highest score was in "school finance" at 84.5, or a B average. The lowest score was in "the teaching profession" at 67.2, or a B average. New Jersey had the second highest score in the "chance for success" category in the country. The chart below displays the scores of New Jersey and its surrounding states.
Note: Click on a column heading to sort the data.
|Public education report cards, 2014|
|State||Chance for success||K-12 achievement||Standards, assessments and accountability||The teaching profession||School finance||Transitions and Alignment|
|New Jersey||88.2 (B+)||82.1 (B-)||75.5 (C)||67.2 (D+)||84.5 (B)||82.1 (B-)|
|Delaware||79.8 (B-)||68.5 (D+)||87.5 (B+)||74.4 (C)||80.0 (B-)||78.6 (C+)|
|New York||81.0 (B-)||70.2 (C-)||92.0 (A-)||81.5 (B-)||87.2 (B+)||85.7 (B)|
|Pennsylvania||82.6 (B)||75.6 (C)||77.7 (C+)||74.6 (C)||82.0 (B-)||78.6 (C+)|
|United States Average||77.3 (C+)||70.2 (C-)||85.3 (B)||72.5 (C)||75.5 (C)||81.1 (B-)|
| Source: Education Week, "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 18, 2015|
A full discussion of how these numbers were generated can be found here.
State Budget Solutions education study
State Budget Solutions examined national trends in education from 2009 to 2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates and average ACT scores. The study showed that the states that spent the most did not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor did they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. The full report can be accessed here.
Superintendent Cami Anderson
Local control and reform proposals
Since 1995, the New Jersey state government has exercised control over Newark Public Schools. In 2013, the Newark Students Union led two mass boycotts against state control of the district in April and November, with the April walkout reportedly drawing about 1,000 students. Superintendent Cami Anderson, who was appointed by Governor Chris Christie, put forward a controversial district reform plan labeled "One Newark" that includes school closures, teacher layoffs, Teach for America hirings and changes to the district's enrollment system for both traditional and charter schools. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten sent a letter to Governor Christie criticizing Superintendent Anderson's plan to use teacher performance evaluations instead of seniority in deciding which teachers to layoff. She concluded the letter by arguing that the state should relinquish control of the school district.
In May 2014, Anderson publicly rejected calls for her resignation and objections to her reforms in an interview with NJTV. In the interview, she stated, "I’m an optimist and I believe our kids deserve us to keep them at the core of every decision and I believe so strongly that we can do what we need to do for our kids that I am absolutely committed to staying the course and putting kids at the core of every decision." She received a three-year contract extension from the Christie administration on June 27, 2014.
Advisory Board relations
Superintendent Anderson's relationship with the Newark Advisory Board had also grown increasingly contentious. During a January 2014 board meeting with hundreds of parents, residents and district educators in attendance, Superintendent Anderson was heckled continuously by the crowd. AFT President Randi Weingarten also attended to denounce Superintendent Anderson's reform proposals, encouraging the opposition in the crowd by pledging AFT's support and stating, "the nation is watching Newark." Superintendent Anderson and her staff left the meeting after community activist Natasha Allen allegedly referred to the superintendent's biracial child by asking, "Do you not want for our brown babies what you want for your brown baby?" In February 2014, Superintendent Anderson announced that she would no longer attend board meetings on the basis that they "are no longer focused on achieving educational outcomes for children."
On January 17, 2014, five Newark principals were suspended indefinitely by the district administration. The district refused requests to explain the exact cause for the suspensions, stating that it was "confidential" but acknowledging that it was due to an investigation "launched regarding an incident that occurred on or about Jan. 15, 2014." Four of the suspended principals spoke in opposition to Superintendent Anderson's "One Newark" reform proposal on January 15 at a community meeting. Newark Councilman Ras Baraka denounced the suspensions and demanded Superintendent Anderson's ouster, arguing that the principals "have a constitutional right to speak out" and adding that, "The Newark school district is not a military dictatorship, and Ms. Anderson is neither an army general nor a police chief." The five principals and a local parent who was banned from the premises of a district school for vocally protesting Superintendent Anderson's reforms have filed a federal lawsuit against the superintendent. In the lawsuit, they argue that she violated their constitutional right to free speech and claim that the district administration was engaged in a "concerted effort to undermine, intimidate and coerce" both the community and district employees. The day after the lawsuit was filed, three of the principals were reinstated to their schools and the other two were reassigned to different schools in the district.
- See also: School board elections portal
- Type 1 districts are dependent on municipal, township or county governments or the state government for fiscal management or school board appointments or both, depending on the district.
- Type 2 districts are traditional districts with an elected governing body that can change tax levies and issue bonds for voter approval.
- Consolidated districts are a Type 2 district variant that were formed from two or more school districts in the past.
- All purpose regional districts are a Type 2 district variant that provides all school services in a region and thereby replace any other Type 1 or Type 2 districts in the area.
- Limited regional districts are a Type 2 district variant that provides a limited number of specialized services for other school districts in the region.
- See also: List of school districts in New Jersey
The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment:
|2.) Jersey City|
|5.) Toms River Regional|
|6.) Edison Township|
|8.) Woodbridge Township|
|9.) Camden City|
|10.) Hamilton Township|
School board composition
New Jersey school board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, although some school board members are appointed. New Jersey school board elections typically follow one of these three methods, or a mixture thereof:
- At-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, regardless of geographic location.
- Trustee area: Only voters residing in a specific geographic area within the school district may vote on certain candidates, who must also reside in that specific geographic area.
- Trustee area at-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, but candidates must reside in specific geographic areas within the school district.
School boards typically consist of seven or nine members. School board members serve three-year terms.
New Jersey does not impose statewide term limits on school board members.
A total of 19 New Jersey school districts among America's largest school districts by enrollment will hold elections for 57 seats in 2015. Two districts will hold elections on April 21, 2015, and the remaining 17 districts will hold their elections on November 3, 2015.
Here are several quick facts about New Jersey's school board elections in 2015:
- The largest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 is Newark Public Schools with 35,543 K-12 students.
- The smallest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 is Old Bridge Township Public Schools with 9,197 K-12 students.
- The 19 districts have an equal number of seats on the ballot in 2015 with three seats up for election in each.
The districts listed below served 282,889 K-12 students during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Click on the district names for more information on the district and its school board elections.
Path to the ballot
To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in New Jersey, a person must be:
- Able to read and write
- A resident of the school district for at least one year before filing for office
- Registered to vote in the school district before filing for office
A person must not be:
- Serving in another elected office
- Serving as a mayor or as part of a municipal or county governing body
- Convicted of certain crimes
- Involved in a claim against the board
- Holding or having a stake in a contract with the board
The process of running for office as a school board candidate begins with filing nomination petitions that include a minimum of 10 signatures from qualified voters in the district. Petitions must be filed with the secretary of the board if it is for an April election or with the county clerk if it is for a November election. Candidates must also adhere to all campaign finance reporting requirements to stay on the ballot.
New Jersey requires all school board candidates who receive contributions of any amount to file a "Certificate of Organization and Designation of Campaign Treasurer and Depository" form with the Election Law Enforcement Commission. Campaign finance reporting deadlines vary according to whether the district holds its elections in April or November.
Education ballot measures
As of June 2014, there were no education ballot measures in New Jersey.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "New + Jersey + Education "
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- New Jersey state budget and finances
- New Jersey Department of Education
- List of school districts in New Jersey
- School choice in New Jersey
- Charter schools in New Jersey
- New Jersey
- Education Policy in the U.S.
- New Jersey Department of Education
- State Board of Education
- State School Report Card
- New Jersey School Surveys, Reports, Data
- New Jersey Public School Ratings by PSK12
- New Jersey Public School Ratings by Great Schools
- National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
- ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
- United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD); Table 2.—Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011-12," accessed May 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, "ED Data Express," accessed May 12, 2014
- New Jersey Department of Education, "NJ Department of Education Organization Chart," accessed June 2, 2014
- New Jersey Department of Education, "New Jersey State Board of Education," accessed June 2, 2014
- New Jersey Department of Education, "Office of the Commissioner," accessed June 2, 2014
- New Jersey Department of Education, "New Jersey State Board of Education Vision and Mission," accessed June 2, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed July 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
- United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014
- ACT, "2012 ACT National and State Scores," accessed May 13, 2014
- Commonwealth Foundation, "SAT Scores by State 2013," October 10, 2013
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data File, School Year 2010-11, Provision Version 1a and School Year 2011-12, Preliminary Version 1a," accessed May 13, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2011-2013," accessed February 21, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2010–11," accessed May 13, 2014 (timed out)
- Maciver Institute, "REPORT: How much are teachers really paid?," accessed October 29, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 211.60. Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, 1969-70 through 2012-13," accessed May 13, 2014
- Thomas E Fordham Institute, "How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions? A State-By-State Comparison," October 29, 2012
- Center for Union Facts, "New Jersey unions," accessed October 14, 2009 (dead link)
- Education Week "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 19, 2015
- Al Jazeera, "Newark students walkout over cut backs," April 10, 2013
- Teacher Under Construction, "Newark Students Organize Boycott, Demand Local Control of Schools," November 1, 2013
- The Washington Post, "Gov. Christie’s new crisis: Protests grow over state control of Newark schools," February 27, 2014
- American Federation of Teachers, "Letter from Randi Weingarten to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on the school crisis in Newark," February 26, 2014
- The Star-Ledger, "Newark schools chief warns of massive teacher layoffs; wants pink slips tied to performance," February 25, 2014
- Education Week, "Despite Calls for Resignation, Newark Superintendent Vows to Stay," June 2, 2014
- NJTV News, "In NJTV Exclusive, Cami Anderson Says She Plans to Stay on in Newark," May 29, 2014
- The Star-Ledger, "NJ officials renew contract of embattled Newark schools chief," June 27, 2014
- NJ Spotlight, "Raucous Newark Crowd Drives Superintendent From School Board Meeting," January 29, 2014
- The Huffington Post, "Newark School Chief Cami Anderson Ditches Rowdy Meeting After Remarks About Her ‘Brown Baby'," January 30, 2014
- The Star-Ledger, "Cami Anderson, Newark schools superintendent, at loggerheads with school board," February 27, 2014
- The Star-Ledger, "5 Newark principals suspended indefinitely, allegedly for opposing One Newark plan," January 20, 2014
- POLITICO, "Chris Christie faces new uproar in state’s largest city," January 27, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "New Jersey," accessed July 11, 2014
- New Jersey School Boards Association, "How to Become a School Board Member," accessed July 11, 2014
- National School Boards Association, "Survey of the State School Boards Associations on Term Limits for Local Board Members," accessed July 8, 2014
State of New Jersey
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