Public schools in Paterson, New Jersey are among the worst in the state. The school district has been controlled by the New Jersey Department of Education since 1991, but state control has failed to turn the schools around.
With Hispanic students comprising 55 percent of the school population, well over half of Hispanic students in Paterson public schools are failing to reach proficiency in English and math. African-American students fare only slightly better. Yet perpupil spending in the Paterson schools, at over $12,000 annually, is more than 10 percent above the state average.
Recently, however, community leaders have taken note of the benefits school choice brings families in other cities around the nation, and have begun to build new coalitions for choice. Martin Perez, President of the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey, observed, “Parents feel they have nowhere to go. They have lost faith in their school system. We have to empower parents and give them parental school choice so they can guarantee a future for their children.”
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