TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner joined Commissioner William L. Librera, Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer and Trenton Superintendent of Schools James Lytle today to discuss potential ways in which to improve overall achievement in the Trenton School District.
“Trenton City School District has a lot to be proud of. In just the last few years, the district has seen a considerable amount of improvement in its students,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer and Chair of the Senate Education Committee. “But we all know that Trenton still has a lot of work to do. Test scores remain among the lowest of the Abbott districts – 26th out of 31 in Language Arts and 28th out of 31 in Math for fourth graders. Now is the time for us to come together and map out a path toward further success.”
Senator Turner noted that the Trenton School District looks to spend more than $14,500 per student, and that a large portion of that money comes from state aid under the Abbott decision.
“Make no mistake about it – this additional Abbott funding has helped improve our schools, but with that additional money must come additional accountability. It is our duty as legislators to meet the needs of the poorest school districts in the state. It is your duty as parents and educators to make sure that this money leads to performance and achievement in return,” added Senator Turner.
According to Senator Turner, it will require the commitment of the community as a whole to raise the level of achievement at every school in Trenton. The district needs to form partnerships with parents’ groups, community groups, churches and businesses in order to provide the comprehensive services that Trenton’s children need to succeed.
“When the community is not involved enough in our children, it gives gangs the opportunity to move in and provide the support system that is otherwise missing. Let’s give our children the positive support system they deserve rather than the life of crime and violence offered by gangs,” explained Senator Turner. “I am challenging the citizens of Trenton to commit themselves to seeing that their local school gets the support it needs so that we can raise student test scores in every school to match at least the Abbott district average. Now is the time to make us all proud and show the citizens of New Jersey that the additional Abbott funding was a wise investment.”