Newark’s strategy for vocational schools provides an interstate model

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

There are answers, and you don’t have to look far to find them. If leaders of the Buffalo School District are alert, they cannot help but find ways to deal with the problems that beset education here.

The Buffalo News, in part of an ongoing series of education stories, highlighted another success story last week. In Newark, N.J. – practically the American prototype for urban decay – Essex County Vocational Technical Schools are graduating 96 percent of their students, many of them earning professional licenses. With 85 percent of students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches, and almost all of them minorities from high-poverty urban areas, the demographics are similar to Buffalo’s.

Essex County Vocational Technical Schools don’t simply prepare students for a job; they teach them the academics needed and show how they apply to real-life projects. The result is a level of engagement that, if it doesn’t guarantee success, at least makes it far more likely.

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