As we look ahead to 2014, there is a lot of speculation about what the governor and legislative leadership will prioritize in education policy.
Clearly, a focus on education reform was a hallmark of Gov. Chris Christie’s first term, which was tumultuous yet productive, with the passage of the tenure reform bill, a new teacher evaluation system, the Urban Hope Act, creation of Renaissance schools, a breakthrough teachers’ contract in Newark, and other wins. Notably, all of these accomplishments were ultimately negotiated and approved on a bipartisan basis.
Looking forward, key questions arise as to what will be next on the list to tackle, particularly given the governor’s potential presidential aspirations and the impact they will have on bipartisanship in Trenton. To help inform this process, we at JerseyCAN undertook a project in which we spoke with educators, policymakers, and advocates across the state and delved into the best research to devise a set of both short-term and longer-term policy recommendations for New Jersey schools. The product is our new publication, "New Jersey Schools: A Framework for Excellence."
As we reviewed state trends, we found that there are two simultaneous and equally pressing issues that have to be addressed. The first is the achievement gap, which continues to be a major concern, even in light of the most recent NAEP scores.
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