NJ ranks second for best public schools, according to finance website

Justin Udo
July 29, 2019 - 1:44 pm
School kids

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey's public schools are the second-best in the country according to a new ranking by personal-finance website WalletHub.

"It's great to see that recognized," said Steve Baker with the New Jersey Education Association. 

The ranking is based on measurements including state funding models, math and reading scores, drop out rates, bullying incidents, and the number of exemplary blue-ribbon schools per capita.

He says their high ranking, 64.78 out of a possible 100 points, is motivation for them to do even better.

"We are in the process, under Gov. Murphy, of getting back to full funding of our public schools," he said. "We had a few years where funding started to fall behind, and it was starting to affect the opportunities that students have."

Dr. Linda Eno with the New Jersey Department of Education says they want their schools to improve more, and the department will be doing a detailed evaluation of every school in the state.

"In August, New Jersey will be releasing an instructional unit to help districts do a better job, aligning their curriculum and instruction to our high quality standards," Eno said. 

She says they recently held a program where they brought together organizations to figure out how to better streamline programs for students.

"Agencies across the state that are focused on the kinds of support students need to be successful learners," she added. 

When it comes to underperforming schools, Eno says they offer a comprehensive support system.

"To identify those schools that fall in the bottom five percent and to provide targeted support," she explained. 

Baker adds they want to improve their schools through a multifaceted approach.

One way he cited was their Family and Schools Together program, or FAST, an initiative to help students by involving families in their education.

"We work on building that connection between the classroom and the home. We find that is very beneficial to our students, it benefits our schools, and it benefits our families and communities," Baker said.

Massachusetts has the best ranking. Delaware is 12th, and neighboring Pennsylvania comes in 27th.