The Education Equality Index shows the Garden State’s achievement gap is larger than two thirds of other states, has remained steady in recent years
According to the Education Equality Index (EEI), a first-of-its-kind tool released today, students from low-income families across New Jersey are less likely to attend schools that put them on an equal playing field than those in neighboring New York and Pennsylvania. Despite frequent recognition for having one of the top public school systems in the nation, EEI data demonstrates that economically disadvantaged students in the Garden State have limited access to school that help them achieve at similar levels as their more advantaged peers.
The EEI also shows that Newark and Jersey City have larger achievement gaps than half of the nation’s largest cities. And while the statewide achievement gap has remained relatively unchanged in recent years, Newark saw its achievement gap widen by 9 percent between 2011 and 2014.
“Every child in New Jersey deserves access to a great school that helps him or her learn and succeed,” said JerseyCAN Executive Director Janellen Duffy. “The Education Equality Index shows that while some schools in Newark and Jersey City have made great progress toward closing the achievement gap, we still have a long way to go. JerseyCAN is committed to working with the great schools that have closed the achievement gap to share their success stories and work to increase educational opportunities across our state.”
The Education Equality Index is the first national comparative measure of the achievement gap at the school, city and state levels, and identifies the regions where children from low-income communities are most likely to attend schools with small or nonexistent achievement gaps. Funded by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and developed in partnership by the foundation, Education Cities and GreatSchools, the EEI features school, city and state-level data covering the nation’s 100 biggest cities in 35 states.
The Education Equality Index also identifies the top 10 schools by city with small or nonexistent achievement gaps that serve a student population where the majority are from low-income families. Science Park High School ranks among the top 10 in Newark.
“Science Park High School continues to prove itself worthy of all the accolades bestowed upon it,” said Science Park High School Principal Kathleen Tierney. “We expose our students to rigorous curricula; we provide them with diverse extracurricular experiences; we foster a culture of care that values the whole student. Despite an ever-widening achievement gap, Science Park will persist in defying the odds and rising to the top.”
Key findings from the Education Equality Index include:
- New Jersey’s EEI score of 28.7 indicates that the state’s achievement gap is significantly larger than the nation’s and ranks the Garden State’s 22nd among the 35 states for which data is available.
- Between 2011 and 2014, New Jersey’s achievement gap remained relatively unchanged, narrowing by just one percent.
- Jersey City earns an EEI score of 34.2, indicating the city’s achievement gap is bigger than nearly 50 percent of major U.S. cities for which data is available. Positively, the gap shrunk by nine percent between 2011 and 2014.
- Newark earns an EEI score of 32.2, indicating the city’s achievement gap is bigger than 55 percent of major U.S. cities for which data is available. Alarmingly, the gap grew by nine percent between 2011 and 2014.
- Only three of 10 students from low-income families in Newark attend schools that are closing the achievement gap.
The top 10 Newark schools with small or nonexistent achievement gaps that serve a student population where the majority are from low-income families are:
- Branch Brook School
- Discovery Charter School
- Essex County Vocational School
- Gray Charter School
- Maria L. Varisco-Rogers Charter School
- Newark Early College High School
- North Star Academy Charter School of Newark
- Robert Treat Academy Charter School
- Science Park High School
- Technology High School
The top 10 Jersey City schools with small or nonexistent achievement gaps that serve a student population where the majority are from low-income families are:
- Alfred E. Zampella No. 27 Elementary School
- County Prep High School
- Explore 2000 Middle School
- Infinity Institute
- Jersey City Golden Door Charter School
- Jotham W. Wakeman No. 6 Elementary School
- Liberty High School
- Number 5 Elementary School
- Soaring Heights Charter School
- The Academy I Middle School
As detailed in the EEI, there are hundreds of schools across the nation where low-income students are achieving at levels that match or even exceed their more advantaged peers — proving that all children can excel in school when given the opportunity.
“Equality of opportunity is an American ideal,” said Ethan Gray, founder and CEO of Education Cities. “The Education Equality Index shows that while we, as a nation, have a long way to go to ensure our most vulnerable children have the opportunities they need to thrive, there are schools in almost every city proving that equality is possible.”
This is the first in a series of releases intended to identify the practices that are closing the achievement gap at the quickest pace. To see more data from the Education Equality Index and use the interactive online tool, visit www.educationequalityindex.org.
About Education Cities
Education Cities is a non-profit organization that convenes, advises, and supports a network of cities in their efforts to increase the number of great public schools. Learn more at www.education-cities.org.
Founded in 1998, GreatSchools is a national, nonpartisan nonprofit helping millions of parents find high-quality schools, support great learning, and guide their kids to great futures. GreatSchools offers thousands of articles, videos, and worksheets to help parents support their children’s learning. Last year, GreatSchools had more than 56 million unique visitors, including more than half of all U.S. families with school-age children. Headquartered in Oakland, California, GreatSchools partners with cities and states across the country to promote access to school quality data to families, particularly those in high need. Through its GreatKids program, GreatSchools promotes parenting for education success and teacher-parent collaboration.
About the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of children living in urban poverty around the world. Headquartered in Austin, TX with satellite offices in New Delhi, India and Cape Town, South Africa, the Dell family foundation funds programs that foster high-quality public education and childhood wellness, and improve the economic stability of families living in poverty. The foundation has committed more than $1.2 billion to global children’s issues and community initiatives to date. Learn more at www.msdf.org.