New Statewide Campaign to Unite Organizations and Institutions from Around the State to Disrupt Business As Usual Approach to Reading Instruction

Initiative to Launch with a Series of Special Screenings of
the Acclaimed Documentary, The Right to Read
in Newark, Camden, and Asbury Park

[New Jersey – May 1, 2023] JerseyCAN, the only statewide advocacy organization in New Jersey committed to ensuring access to high-quality public schools for every child regardless of zip code, cultural background, or socioeconomic status, announced today that it will launch the New Jersey Legacy of Literacy (NJLL) Coalition, a statewide marketing and legislative campaign aimed at influencing Governor Phil Murphy, the New Jersey State Legislature and the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) to adopt a high-quality statewide plan that addresses literacy in every public school in the state.

“Across the board, our students’ reading proficiency must be improved, but we are in a desperate situation with our students of color. JerseyCAN and organizations and institutions across the state of New Jersey are ringing the alarm bell today and uniting around one clear priority – immediate action to ensure that every public school student can read and write,” stated JerseyCAN Executive Director Paula White. “Teaching students to read should be an unwavering professional pursuit informed by evidence and a track record of success, not based on a popularity contest of which teaching method is preferred or currently in vogue. If a light is not shined on this issue and strategically addressed in Trenton, we will rob many in this generation of New Jersey’s public school students of a viable future.”

This year, the Nation’s Report Card, an annual report conducted by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a congressionally mandated initiative administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), stated that New Jersey has failed to move the needle in closing socioeconomic or racial gaps in 4th-grade reading proficiency for the past twenty years. Further, last month’s Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee noted that 58% of the state’s third graders are not meeting reading standards. In addition, it has been reported that less than 10 percent of students in some urban areas of the state are currently reading at grade level. Specifically, the Asbury Park school district did not have a single 3rd-grade student at grade level proficiency.

Through the creation of NJLL, JerseyCAN and its Coalition partners from around the state will activate a layered plan, beginning with a multi-platform marketing campaign to showcase data regarding the literacy gap in New Jersey public schools. In addition, the Coalition will launch a lobbying campaign to work with the New Jersey Legislature that will look to define clear state directives and goals to address the literacy gap, enable aligned teacher training for public school teachers, mandate more significant information sharing to parents regarding their children’s literacy acquisition, and instruct the NJDOE to develop and implement a plan to address the literacy gap.

To help kick off the launch of NJLL, JerseyCAN has organized a series of special public screenings for the acclaimed documentary, The Right to Read. The film shares moving stories of activists, teachers, and families fighting to provide children with a foundational indicator of life-long success – the ability to read.

Screenings in Newark, Camden, and Asbury Park are listed below and open to the public, with additional screening events planned throughout the Spring.

Tapinto New Jersey will serve as the media sponsor for each local film screenings.

During each local event, JerseyCAN will showcase current New Jersey data regarding public school literacy, outline plans for the NJLL, and facilitate a discussion to inform the work and priorities of the newly created Coalition.

For more information on the public screenings and to RSVP to attend, please go to –

WHO: JerseyCAN, Newark Trust for Education, Unapologetic Parents,
Project Ready, Programs for Parents
WHEN: Wednesday, May 17th @ 630pm
One Center St Newark, NJ 07102

WHO: JerseyCAN and Westside Citizens United
WHEN: Wednesday, May 24 @ 6:30pm
WHERE: Bradley Elementary School
1100 3rd Ave Asbury Park, NJ 07712

WHO: JerseyCAN and Camden Education Fund
WHEN: Wednesday, May 31 @ 5:30pm
WHERE: Camden County Library – Ferry Avenue Branch
852 Ferry Ave, Camden, NJ 08104


Recent Posts

More posts from Press Releases

See All Posts