PULSE OF JERSEY’S
in preparing for the Top Public
High Schools issue, we turn to the experts every two years for their input.
That means calls to school superintendents and principals around the
state. One question we ask: What issues are keeping you up at night?
Most of their worries did not surprise us: the future of standardized
testing; their ability to meet the challenge of STEM education; whether
they’ll have the funding to best serve
their students. We expected them to
have serious concerns about school
security, too. But we were taken
aback by the number of school officials who mentioned the rise of vaping—that is, the use of e-cigarettes—
New Jersey Monthly first reported
on vaping in May 2015. At the time,
it seemed to be a lifestyle fad for
20-somethings. That vaping is now
something of an epidemic (with serious health consequences) among
even middle school teens is extremely disturbing.
In this issue, we explore the topic
of student vaping—as well those expected issues, including STEM education and school security.
The centerpiece is our 2018 ranking
of the Top Public High Schools. The
ranking runs 305 schools deep. We’ve
published the Top 100 in this issue; the
complete list will be available as a free
download at njmonthly.com starting
This year’s chart has a new number
1 school. Congratulations to the staff
and students at Dr. Ronald E. McNair
Academic High School in Jersey City,
which returns to the top of the chart for
the first time since 2006. The school is
named in memory of astronaut Ronald McNair, who perished in the 1986
space shuttle explosion. McNair, a
physicist, would be proud of the kids
at his namesake school. They are certainly soaring to new heights.
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