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Today during the New Jersey State Board of Education meeting, Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan recommended that the Board approve a resolution to return Jersey City Public Schools to local control.
The decision was welcomed by Jersey City Superintendent Norma Fernandez, who was in attendance, as well as other local control advocates. The district was taken over by the state in 1989. At the time more than 40 percent of children entering high school failed to graduate and standardized test scores, reported the New York Times in 1993, “were among New Jersey’s lowest.” The Times continues,
The takeover is being watched by educators and politicians who have struggled for a generation to find the key to equal education for all of New Jersey’s children. It has also drawn attention around the nation, as the first in which a state seized both administrative and classroom control of a solvent school district. Takeover is the ultimate sanction of a monitoring process that, in the absence of more money, has become the state’s principal means of influencing change in urban districts. State officials say proudly that they have restored stability. But they call it unrealistic to expect a quick turnaround in a system whose pathologies are decades deep.
Currently almost 50% of Jersey City’s 27,000 students are proficient in reading and almost 34% are proficient in math.