By Sumana Gadiraju, Anita Osuri, and Fadi Farag, 2022 Governor's STEM Scholars
While New Jersey is undeniably a global leader in innovation, a closer look beyond this success shows that our education system can be doing more to support the success of all New Jersey students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), paving a path to a stronger innovation economy.
New Jersey is consistently ranked first nationally for its public schools, but inequity in educational outcomes is rampant, and STEM is no exception. Our state’s achievement gap between wealthy and low-income students has remained wide open for several decades. Millburn–the state's wealthiest school district–reports an impressive 95.3% of their students achieving proficiency on math and reading state exams. Meanwhile, in Camden, with nearly one-fifth of the average household income of Millburn, proficiency drops to 1.5%. This means that even though you may live in the state with the best school system, your zip code may be the largest indicator of success.