New Jersey’s current system funds all districts in the same way, regardless of their performance or the reforms they have in place to address persistent achievement problems.
The “Education Funding Report” also proposes a $50 million Innovation Fund to encourage and reward districts to both improve performance and to implement reforms targeted to specific achievement deficiencies. The fund would reward districts that show high growth and strong performance in student achievement, and fund reforms at the local level that are improving performance for students. The DOE would monitor the implementation and impact of these reforms, ultimately identifying and bringing the most successful to scale statewide.
The report states that in order to have a meaningful and lasting influence on student learning, there needs to be new policy priorities, new laws and regulations, altered classroom practices and district contracts, and start pushing a slate of changes that finally move away from the belief that the funding formula alone will close the achievement gap.
Among many others, that includes:
* Develop policies that enable districts to recruit, prepare, evaluate, compensate, develop, retain and recognize outstanding educators, and eliminate legal and contractual restrictions that impede schools from assuring a highly effective teacher in every classroom;
* Provide educators with the tools they need to be successful by setting high standards for what students should know and be able to do, developing model curriculum to support educators as they teach those standards, and providing real time feedback through formative assessments so teachers can modify their work and differentiate instruction in real time;
* Provide rich data reports to identify how well schools are meeting their mission of improving student outcomes, to identify specific areas for improvement, and to trigger differentiated interventions at the State level such as mandated curriculum and human capital practices; and
* Intervene in schools that do not create an environment conducive to high-quality teaching and learning by providing support through Regional Achievement Centers, requiring targeted turnaround strategies, and aggressively using existing authority to close or replace schools with new management and teachers if they do not improve within two academic cycles.
The findings of the “Education Funding Report” can be found at
State aid figures for New Jersey’s school districts can be found at: