On July 27, the NJ Department of Education released its annual report to the state legislature, Violence, Vandalism and Substance Abuse in New Jersey Public Schools.   According to the report, 38 percent of New Jersey school districts reported no incidents of violence, vandalism or substance abuse, and 70 percent reported five or fewer instances.  In addition, reported incidents in 2004-05 were down by nine percent from 2003-04 and 17 percent from 2002-03.  

The report is compiled using data that districts provide to the Department via the Electronic Violence and Vandalism Reporting System (EVVRS).  It provides detailed information on incidents ranging from fighting, trespassing, theft and fireworks possession to major behavioral problems such as assault, extortion, and possession of firearms and drugs at New Jersey’s approximately 2,400 public and charter schools.  In a press release issued with the report, Acting Commissioner Lucille Davy said the figures reflect positive trends, but cautioned against year-to-year statistical comparisons.

Department officials also announced that three schools – Trenton Central High School, East Side High School in Paterson and Wilbur Watts Intermediate School in Burlington City – have been identified as meeting the state’s definition of “persistently dangerous” in accordance with the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).  In order to appear on the list, schools must meet the “persistently dangerous” criteria for three years in a row. This year, the department used data reported at the end of the 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 school years in calculating the status of schools. The three schools must develop comprehensive corrective action plans to create safer learning environments, and students attending these schools must be offered the option to transfer to another public school.   

Related Documents:

NJDOE:  Violence, Vandalism and Substance Abuse in NJ Public Schools 2004-05 (7/27/2006)



The New Jersey State Legislature has announced the names of members of the four joint committees that will review and formulate proposals for property tax reform (see the Recent Development dated 7/31/2006 for more on this subject).

One of the four committees, the Joint Legislative Committee on Public School Funding, will be co-chaired by Senator John Adler (D-Camden) and Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Jr. (D-Burlington). Other members include four Democrats and two Republicans:  Senators Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen) and Joseph Doria (D-Hudson), and Assemblymen Brian Stack (D-Hudson) and David Wolfe (R-Monmouth).  Two of the members, Doria and Wolfe, also serve on standing education committees. 

Only two other members of education committees will serve on any of the joint committees created for the Special Session on Property Tax Reform:  Senator Ron Rice (D-Essex) will serve on the Joint Legislative Committee on Public Employee Benefits Reform, and Assemblyman Joseph Malone (R-Burlington) will serve on the Joint Legislative Committee on Government Consolidation and Shared Services. 

As of this writing, committee hearings have been scheduled for the Joint Legislative Committee on Government Consolidation and Shared Services and the Joint Legislative Committee on Constitutional Reform and Citizens’ Property Tax Constitutional Convention.  For more information on these hearings and what they will cover, access the link below. 

Related Documents:

New Jersey Legislature:  Special Session on Property Tax Reform

Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report on implementation of Supplemental Educational Services (SES) implementation, a key provision of No Child Left Behind.  The report examines four key issues: (1) how SES participation changed between 2003-04 and 2004-05, (2) how providers are working with districts to deliver SES, (3) how states are monitoring and evaluating SES, and (4) how the Department of Education monitors and supports state implementation.

Key findings in the report include:  1) Students eligible for SES increased from 12 percent in 2003-04 to 19 percent in 2004-05, and the number of recipients increased from approximately 117,000 to 430,000 over the same time period.  This is thought to be due to an increase in the number of schools required to offer these services.  2) In general, districts used effective practices to inform parents that these services were available, and to encourage participation in them; and 3) challenges remain in attracting providers to particular districts, such as those in rural areas. 

GAO recommends “that Education disseminate information on promising practices used to improve SES implementation, provide states with technical assistance to improve evaluation of SES’s effect on student achievement, and expand program flexibility where appropriate.”

Related Documents:

GAO:  Education Actions Needed to Improve Local Implementation and State Evaluation of Supplemental Educational Services (8/2006)


A study released this week finds that private school students perform better than public school students in 11 out of 12 categories, contrary to a recent report issued recently by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) that found little or no significant difference in public and private school students performance (see the Recent Development dated 7/21/2006 for more on the NCES report).  This latest study was conducted by Paul Peterson and Elena Llaudet of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

The Harvard researchers say the NCES study used student characteristics that are “flawed by inconsistent classification across the public and private sectors and by the inclusion of factors open to school influence.”  They used the same data but “better measures of student characteristics,” to reach their conclusions, according to their report.

Related Documents:

Harvard Study:  On the Public-Private School Achievement Debate (8/2006)


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