Commentary

Meanwhile Paterson, New Jersey Still Horrible Place to Learn

Despite the Abbott school adequacy lawsuit, universal pre-k, state intervention, and a $15,000 + per-pupil investment, Paterson district still failing in every way. The 28,000-student Paterson district, which has been under state control since 1991 because of fiscal mismanagement and poor academics, failed to show satisfactory progress over the last year in any of the five main areas being evaluated: instruction and programs, school board operations, personnel, building maintenance and school safety, and budgetary issues. Paterson is really a poster child for everything we know at Reason Foundation: state takeovers of school districts seldom help; more money does not guarantee performance; universal preschool is no panacea; and last but not least you need competition and choice to create more capacity for quality schools–vis-a-vis New Orleans.

Lisa Snell is the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Snell has frequently testified before the California State Legislature and numerous other state legislatures and government agencies. She has authored policy studies on school finance and weighted student funding, universal preschool, school violence, charter schools, and child advocacy centers.

Snell is a frequent contributor to Reason magazine, School Reform News and Privatization Watch. Her writing has also appeared in Education Week, Edutopia, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Ms. Snell is also an advisory board member to the National Quality Improvement Center for the Children's Bureau; is on the charter school accreditation team for the American Academy for Liberal Education; and serves as a board member for the California Virtual Academy.

Before joining Reason Foundation, Snell taught public speaking and argumentation courses at California State University, Fullerton. She earned a Master of Arts in communication from California State University, Fullerton.