By Paula White, JerseyCAN Executive Director

The brilliant American poet Langston Hughes once asked, “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore — And then run?”

Unfortunately for parents, students and education advocates in New Jersey, we must wait to find out the answer to this question.

New Jersey’s Department of Education is dragging its heels on a full release of student achievement data in reading and math, and likely won’t do so for several more weeks. The missing data is aligned with New Jersey’s Student Learning Standards (NJSLS), which tell us what our students should have learned at each grade level. Knowing where things stand is important.

If the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 4th grade reading results are a foreshadowing of how students in our state have fared, young people’s dreams are being woefully deferred, with Black and brown children as prime casualties. This must stop.

Now is the time to disrupt “business as usual” in literacy instruction in New Jersey.

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