Review of Reform with Results for New Jersey SchoolsReport as inadecuate

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National Education Policy Center

A report published by the Lexington Institute presents findings on the effectiveness of New Jersey's Abbott v. Burke court decisions from the late 1990s through 2009. The report argues that the reforms ordered by the state's supreme court failed to significantly increase student achievement despite what it terms as dramatic increases in spending. Based on these findings, the report argues that the increases in spending in these urban districts and their continued dismal student achievement rates make New Jersey, and particularly Newark, ideal for instituting a number of reforms. These advocated reforms include parental empowerment, increases in the number of charter schools, changes in teacher union contracts, and the enactment of private school choice policies (e.g., vouchers). The report cannot stand as a research document and provides little or no empirical evidence to support its critiques of Abbott or its recommendations for reform. It omits important parts of the existing research literature, such as NAEP data showing New Jersey as high performing and as closing the achievement gap. The Lexington report contains no methodology to speak of. Overall, the report has little or no use for informing educational reform in Newark, New Jersey or nationally. (Contains 30 notes.)

Descriptors: Educational Research, Urban Schools, Academic Achievement, Court Litigation, School Law, Research Methodology, Criticism, Research Reports, Validity, Methods Research, Value Judgment, Educational Policy, Politics of Education

National Education Policy Center. School of Education 249 UCB University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309. Tel: 303-735-5290; e-mail: nepc[at]; Web site:

Author: Sadovnik, Alan R.


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