New Jersey Launches New Tool for Improving School Performance
New Jersey's business leaders, along with Governor James E. McGreevey, and representatives of the education community, will launch a new Web site called Just for the Kids-New Jersey. This school improvement tool provides fair comparisons of schools, valuable data for educational decision-making, and identifies best practices that can be shared across schools with similar challenges. This free Web site, www.just4kids.org, which is open to the public and is funded by The Business Coalition for Educational Excellence (BCEE) at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, will enable education leaders to tap into practices that have effectively enhanced student achievement. Twenty high achieving schools will be honored as Just for the Kids New Jersey Benchmark Schools and will share their effective practices. The BCEE will also announce funding of a Just for the Kids Benchmark School Study to be conducted by Rutgers University that will examine six high achieving schools and share findings regarding their effective practices.
The Business Coalition for Educational Excellence (BCEE), at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, is an association of New Jersey business leaders, educators, and policymakers committed to ensuring that all children achieve at high levels, become productive citizens and are well prepared to function successfully in the workplace. The BCEE promotes policies and implements programs that support the business agenda in K-16 educational reform and has greatly impacted the course of education reform in the state. The BCEE has four areas of interest: standards and assessments, teacher quality, accountability and technology. Companies such as Prudential Financial, Inc.; ETS; Verizon; Johnson & Johnson; Washington Mutual; State Farm Insurance Company; and The Merck Institute for Science Education provide support for BCEE programs. For more information on The Business Coalition for Educational Excellence, please visit www.bcee.org.
Just for the Kids (JFTK) is a powerful Web-based tool that helps schools view their own performance relative to schools with similar student populations. JFTK reports are based on analysis of information obtained from the state department of education in each state and provide an unbiased, data based view of a school's academic achievement. Based on performance results, state study investigators identify the practices that distinguish consistently high-performing schools from other schools and encourage the replication of their practices. To date, Just for the Kids data is being used in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. Within the year, Illinois, Hawaii, and Michigan will be launching Just for the Kids websites as well. The National Center for Educational Accountability (NCEA), national sponsor of the Just for the Kids School Improvement Model, is a part of a nationwide collaborative effort by the Education Commission of the States, The University of Texas at Austin, and Just for the Kids.#