What NCLB Has Done for New Jersey

The US Department of Education (ED) is touting the difference that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has made in each state. The difference NCLB has made in New Jersey is summarized in a one-page, six-bullet list.

– President Bush’s 2006 budget proposal increases federal education funding for New Jersey to more than $2.3 billion — 49% more than when the President took office.

– President Bush’s 2006 budget proposal increases Title I funding for New Jersey to $278.5 million — $63.6 million over 2001 levels — to help New Jersey’s neediest children.

– President Bush’s 2006 budget proposal increases special education state grant funding for New Jersey to $348 million ($139.7 million over 2001 levels) so that all New Jersey students, including those with disabilities, have the opportunity to reach their full academic potential.

– New Jersey has received $55.3 million in Reading First grants to help schools and districts improve children’s reading achievement through scientifically proven methods of instruction since receiving its award in October 2002. In total, over six years, New Jersey is set to receive approximately $113.4 million in Reading First funds.

– Princeton Charter School has been awarded the U.S. Secretary of Education’s 2004 No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools award for academic excellence and equity. Heather Ngoma, director of the Charter School Resource Center at Rutgers University’s Center for Effective School Practices, said the high levels of achievement by students at the school bodes well for the future of public education in the state. (Princeton Charter School demonstrates that public schools can be held accountable for high levels of learning among all students at considerable taxpayer savings,: Ms. Ngoma said .The Charter School [was] among eight schools named in New Jersey. It is the first and only charter school named in the state. (Princeton Packet, 9/25/04)

– Union City’s Woodrow Wilson Elementary School has been selected as a Federal 2004 No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education “This is the most prestigious national award in education and we are ecstatic that the United States Department of Education has recognized Woodrow Wilson,” said Stanley Sanger, superintendent of schools.A New Jersey State Star School and New Jersey Best Practices School, Woodrow Wilson has been continuously recognized for its unique approach to education, which involves an arts-integrated curriculum. The strong emphasis on the arts, along with basic core academics such as mathematics and English, is what sets Woodrow Wilson apart from any other public school in the Union City district. (Union City Reporter, 10/24/04)

Four bullets tell of the increase in money the federal government has provided New Jersey for education because of NCLB. The last two bullets tell about two Blue Ribbon schools. Perhaps there were rigorous criteria to be awarded as a Blue Ribbon school, but it hardly qualifies as what NCLB has provided the state.

And there’s the rub. There is no role for the federal government in education. (link 1, link 2, and link 3). But dismissing that briefly to concentrate on this current hype, the first bullet tells of the increase, the next three break out the increased funding a little bit, and the final two are distractions. But none of them describe what No Child Left Behind has done for New Jersey. Money is not making a difference. So, what difference has NCLB made in our state? What difference has this money made?

There are more Abbott districts now than there were when NCLB was implemented. Where are the results of the additional $2.3 billion that the feds have provided the state? How much has New Jersey contributed in federal taxes during that time? Are we receiving our money’s worth or is there slippage going on?

NCLB requires schools to make data-driven decisions about education. Where are the data that indicate NCLB has made a difference in the Garden State? This report is a waste of our tax dollars.

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