State Continues to Lead on Achievement, School Funding & “Chance for Success” Index

Newark, NJ, January 11, 2011

New Jersey continues to lead the nation in education quality and performance according to the annual 50-state survey released today by Education Week. The survey, “Quality Counts 2011,” evaluates and ranks the states on key education indicators, including achievement results, school finance, and other factors critical to student success.

“New Jersey’s education system again performs at the top of the 50 states,” said ELC Executive Director David G. Sciarra. ELC advocates for quality public education for the over 1.1 million students attending public schools throughout the state.

“What is especially heartening is our second place ranking on student achievement and the ‘A’ grade we received on the student ‘Chance for Success’ index. We also scored among the top five for providing equitable school funding,” Mr. Sciarra said.

Among the highlights of New Jersey’s performance on “Quality Counts 2011” are:

  • An “A-” grade on the Chance for Success index, which measures 13 indicators that have a significant impact on whether children succeed in school. New Jersey has the highest percentage of 3- and 4-year-olds in preschool programs in the nation, one of the Chance for Success factors.
  • A second place finish, behind Massachusetts, on achievement, as measured by student performance on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) and high school graduation. New Jersey won high marks on NAEP at both the fourth and eighth grade levels and has the highest graduation rate (83.3%) in the nation.
  • Among the highest rates for closing the achievement gap between low-income and non-low-income students between 2003 and 2008. New Jersey narrowed the achievement gap 4.2% at the fourth grade level and 4.1% at the eighth grade level, as measured by NAEP scores
  • A grade of B+ for the state’s school funding system, as measured by various indexes of education spending. New Jersey would score even higher if the Quality Counts methodology rewarded the state for providing more funding to higher poverty districts.

“These results send a clear message. Our public schools are not ‘failing.’ They are succeeding at high levels when compared to the nation,” said Mr. Sciarra. “But we also need to roll up our sleeves and continue to improve by making critical investments — such as increasing access to high quality preschool — that we know make a difference.”


Education Law Center Press Contact:
Sharon Krengel
Policy & Outreach Coordinator
voice: 973 624-1815 x24

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Press Contact:
Sharon Krengel
Director of Policy, Strategic Partnerships and Communications
973-624-1815, x240