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The fight for great New Jersey schools starts with the facts. Read our inaugural 'State of New Jersey Public Education' report!

New Jersey Schools: A Framework for Excellence

A Framework to help us achieve our vision of great schools for all.

In the movement for great New Jersey schools, we talk often about where the education system stands (our starting point), and where it should be (our destination). We know our kids deserve better than the status quo, which is failing to prepare many of our young minds for the world after 12th grade and often leaves behind the neediest students. In fact, our kids deserve more than “better.” Our kids deserve the best.

Thanks to volumes of research and a sharpening focus on the critical role that education plays in the success of communities small and large, we even know how the “best” can look: engaged kids, involved families, effective teachers, strong school leaders, vibrant and innovative classrooms, high standards, preschool and more.

But how do we get there?

These publications, New Jersey Schools: A Framework for Excellence and New Jersey Schools: A Framework for Excellence—Short-Term Goals together provide a seven-to-10-year perspective on improving schools and outline changes in education policy that are critically needed to boost student achievement, narrow the state’s disturbing achievement gaps and raise the bar for all kids. All of these reforms are intended to benefit students across the state, but in some cases are most sorely needed in persistently struggling districts and schools. 

Think of these complementary documents as a map toward real, sustainable and positive change.


Get in touch with Executive Director Janellen Duffy to find out how you can support the Framework for Excellence

"One of several attributes to this report, New Jersey Schools: A Framework for Excellence, is that it includes best practices from across the country and within New Jersey. To a large extent, we already know what’s working in education, but the key has always been how to apply that consistently and effectively in our schools across the state. I strongly hope that our leaders in Trenton and across the state will join JerseyCAN in pursuing these policy recommendations, many of which will require bipartisan support."
--Governor Thomas H. Kean, former New Jersey Governor and JerseyCAN Advisory Board Co-chair

"We applaud JerseyCAN's efforts to provide a comprehensive set of recommendations for education that are urgently needed to improve schools across the state.  Work in the classroom has to be coupled with commonsense policy reforms at the state and local levels to ensure that the long-standing and widespread benefits of education are real for all students.  JerseyCAN's advocacy for such solutions has the potential to bring about positive change.” 
–Fatimah Burnam-Watkins, Executive Director, Teach For America-New Jersey

"JerseyCAN’s Framework for Excellence lays out the kind of bold education reform needed in Newark, across New Jersey and in many other cities and states nationwide. It recognizes that the growth of the public charter sector will play a major role in expanding access to high-quality options for all public school students, while acknowledging that charters are just one part of the solution. In addition to fostering a high-performing, accountable and transparent public charter school sector, we must commit to supporting talented educators, setting high expectations for all students beginning in preschool, and addressing complex funding challenges to put dollars where they are most needed in schools."
--Mashea Ashton, CEO of the Newark Charter School Fund

"The bottom line is that all families want great schools for their children. However, current realities leave this vision out of reach for too many of New Jersey’s families. JerseyCAN’s Framework for Excellence is a plan that can move us beyond the status quo and push us toward concrete changes so that all students can – one day – truly receive a high quality public education."
--Carlos Perez, President and CEO of the New Jersey Charter Schools Association

"JerseyCAN’s Framework for Excellence addresses the two most critical issues in education: in New Jersey: the need to raise the bar for all kids and unacceptable achievement gaps that need to be closed. The recommendations included in this report will set us on the path to more rigorously addressing both areas. New Jersey’s economic viability depends on the power of our schools, educators and society as a whole to prepare the future workforce in New Jersey for careers in an increasingly globalized world. Raising our standards for success—and then helping all students reach those standards—is undoubtedly needed to achieve that end."
--Ann Borowiec

"JerseyCAN’s NJ Schools: Framework for Excellence is a smart and powerful report that concisely outlines where New Jersey’s education system currently stands and highlights key issues we still need to address. With an utterly unacceptable achievement gap plaguing our state’s families year after year, we must take decisive action and implement proven reforms to reverse the pervasive status quo of inequity. JerseyCAN in its inaugural year has been a tremendous partner in and thought leader for the critical work ahead."
--Kathleen Nugent, New Jersey State Director of Democrats for Education Reform

"Creating the best educational opportunities for New Jersey's students is as much about knowing where you've come from as it is about inventing a future where a child's zip code is not the best determinant of the school they will attend or the kind of teacher they will have. A great deal of good has been done in New Jersey but there is more to do, and great challenges await. The Framework is some of the best thinking on what's next in education reform and what still needs to happen. We are happy to learn from it and thank JerseyCAN making it a reality."
--Derrell Bradford, Executive Director of Better Education for Kids