NJ Commissioner of Education on Education Fairness
Steve Adubato sits down with Lamont O. Repollet, Commissioner of New Jersey Department of Education, to talk about education fairness and the education gap across school districts throughout the state.
"State of Affairs is pleased to welcome Doctor Lamont Repollet, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education. Good to see you Commissioner. Good morning Steve. How you doing sir? Why don't we... I'm doing great. Why don't we tell people right before we got on the air, we talked about this Education Week ranking of state public schools? Yes. Yes. At least we have some good news in New Jersey? Oh, we defin... Which says? We started the year off with great news. Ed Week, they have this Ed Research Center, and it ranked us number one in the country based off of 19 different factors. And one of those factors was school funding. So we're very happy. The fact that school funding put us over the top, but it also goes into quality of our teachers. Whether they're certified teachers. You're looking at the work that we're doing with some of our at-risk students, and also some work we're doing post-secondary success via vocation. So we're excited about that. We're ranked number one, but we've always been number one. In New Jersey as an educator, I've always felt that we have one of the top public school systems, and for years we were ranked high, but this time we have a publication that's credible that says that we're number one. So we should be very excited. Our educators that are working hard everyday should be excited about this. But more importantly, our students. And just really recognize the work that we do. But we have some work to do. We sure do. As far as our achievement gap. And by the way, isn't it great for New Jersey to... not to only be number one when it comes to our property taxes? I'm sorry. [laughter] I just had to get that! How about this? Commissioner, you have... we're talking to Commissioner Lamont Repollet. This is Steve Adubato. We're coming to you from the NJTV Studios in Newark. This is State of Affairs. You've talked about this concept of, quote, "education equity" and you said this is a moral imperative. What does that mean? Yes. What is it? And what does it mean? A moral imperative is pretty much a moral obligation, as an educator, it is our right to ensure that when we're in that classroom... But what's education equity? Is the question. Education equity is really fairness. It's really fairness, opportunity, and access for our students. It's not equality. It's equity. Some students need more intervention and need more supports. And it's our job to make sure that we give them supports. But more importantly, we look at equity as a social justice as well. To remove barriers. And I think that's our take. Especially if you look at a stronger and fairer New..."