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State Readies New School Report Cards

Get ready to see how every local public school in New Jersey stacks up, at least according to the state.

The Christie administration will unveil this week a plan for new school report cards that will rate every public school in New Jersey both statewide and against their peers on overall achievement, gaps in achievement, and specific academic targets.

The proposed School Performance Reports are one piece of the state’s application for a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

But whether the application is approved or not, Chris Cerf, acting education commissioner, said yesterday that the administration would pursue the new system regardless, saying it would provide a better accounting than the current system that lists detailed scores but little in the way of rankings.

“At a glance, it will let educators and parents know where a school stands,” Cerf said in an interview. “Even if the school is doing OK, it will be a tool that will be profoundly more valuable than what we have now.”

The new reports are just one of several components in the waiver application that has dominated the administration’s education docket for the last month, much of it following the federal guidelines that will require states pull out the lowest-achieving schools and impose certain interventions.

Cerf did not provide much new on those plans yesterday, saying the details will be rolled out this week. But an outline of the application released last week said the state would provide a menu of options for what will be roughly the 200 lowest- performing schools, ranging from strategic programs to wholesale overhauls of leadership and staff.

For the remaining 2,200-plus schools in the state, the specific metrics for how they will be rated remain in development, and Cerf pledged a “statewide discussion” that will delve into different models.

Continue reading this story in NJ Spotlight.

NJ Spotlight is an issue-driven news website that provides critical insight to New Jersey’s communities and businesses. It is non-partisan, independent, policy-centered and community-minded.

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