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NJ Report Card Would Include Student Career Readiness [AUDIO]

A New Jersey lawmaker is pushing a bill that would require the annual New Jersey School Report Card to include indicators of student career readiness. 

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Every year, the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education releases a report card which includes information and data on the demographics of enrolled students, district spending and academic achievement.

“The commissioner’s report talks about some valuable information for students, but it doesn’t talk about them being ready for real-world jobs that may be there right after high school,” said Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (D-Secaucus). “Some of these are great paying jobs that are out there and sometimes some of these jobs pay higher than bachelor’s degree jobs.”

Under the legislation, the education department and business leaders would work together to decide what career readiness indicators should be included in the yearly report card. According to Prieto, New Jersey’s emphasis on getting students ready for four-year colleges ignores the fact that many well-paying careers can be launched with an industry certificate or an associate degree.

“Somebody may not be able to afford college right away,” Prieto said. “They may be able to go into a certain job and then down the road that could lead them to be able to pay for college.”

Public schools need to place a greater focus on career and technical education, and the technical and career skills that students will need to meet these workforce demands, Prieto said. He said requiring the report card to annually include indicators of student career readiness will help the school district, parents and the state evaluate the success of schools in preparing students for real-world jobs.

The Assembly Education Committee is scheduled to consider Prieto’s legislation Thursday, as part of a six-bill package he sponsors to improve vocational education in the Garden State.

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