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Public Montessori Program in Jersey City Public Schools

This petition had 282 supporters

The mindset that school choice and "progressive" education comes only in the form of charter schools and vouchers should stop.  All families have a right to high-quality educational experiences for their children and those options should be available within our current public school system. This is true equity. Besides, many families do not have the finances to be able to afford private school tuition and charter schools receive more applications than available spaces.

With a few exceptions (i.e. The JCPS Dual-Language Program), the mindset around choice in Jersey City, especially at the elementary school level, seems to be that it comes from attendance at independent private schools or public charter schools. JCPS has the opportunity to impact this perception with the addition of a K – 8 public Montessori program that will bring diversity across income levels, race, ethnicity, ability and learning styles, under a successful program, operating within the structures of the public school system.  It will provide an additional choice for families currently utilizing the public school system. It will also attract new families and bring back some of those who have opted out of public schools in favor of private Montessori, independent, or public charter schools.

The Montessori Method produces self-directed, discerning, problem-solving young people, who enter the work force prepared and able to perform and innovate.  The notion that teaching must address and appeal to the varying learning modalities that children possess, is causing educators to take a closer look at the The Montessori Method. The United States has seen a swell in new public Montessori programs, with over 300 starting within the last 15 years.  New York State has four, Pennsylvania has four, Connecticut has five, Delaware has two, and New Jersey has two – Edgemont Elementary School in Montclair and Mahala F. Atchison Elementary School in Tinton Falls. 

Not only are these programs being offered, they are proving successful. In Hartford, Connecticut, for example, students enrolled in the city’s public Montessori programs outscored their grade-level peers by no less than 30% on state ELA and Math assessments, with 88% - 93% of students scoring at proficient or above in grades 3 through 6.  The Montessori Method is also cost-effective, with materials and supplies costing the district substantially less than the currently allotted $277.00 per student, over time.

It is time for Jersey City Public Schools to offer a high-quality Montessori program as an educational choice for its residents.  If we act quickly, the Jersey City Public Schools Montessori Program can be launched in September of 2017 and grow in the years that follow.

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