Bring back Vocational training to Jersey City public schools

Dear Editor:

The Jersey City school district is on the cusp of gaining local control back from the State of New Jersey with only curriculum and instruction left to be returned. This allows members of the local Board of Education to have greater input in shaping a curriculum that gives our students the skills necessary to succeed. Due to the over emphasis on standardized testing, our students have been denied the opportunity to learn critical life skills gained through hands on learning. Vocational type classes not only provide skills for the students, but also support and reinforce the core subjects. A student who may struggle in a static learning environment often will react positively and improve academically by learning in a different capacity.

Vocational classes are also critical to improving the economy of our city and nation by having workers with the requisite skills. The current education system focuses primarily on high stakes testing, such as the PARCC test, and recently the State Board of Education in Trenton required students to pass the PARCC test in high school in order to graduate. This is a short sighted approach and is a disservice to the students in a district such as Jersey City. Rather than focusing solely on test scores, the local district needs to develop and implement cost effective and innovative programs that benefit the students and community. Let’s bring vocational programs back to our schools and give our students every chance to learn and thrive.

Gina Verdibello

Parent Advocate & candidate for the Jersey City Board of Education


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