About Laura Waters

Laura Waters is Senior Writer and Editor at brightbeam. She was weaned on education and equity issues: Her mom was a social worker and her dad was a social studies teacher in New York City public schools. She can no more get this passion out of her blood than she can her New York accent, even though she has lived in Central Jersey now for over 25 years.

She and her husband have four children, and her youngest has multiple disabilities.

Laura was on her local school board in Lawrence Township for 12 years and served nine years as president. She keeps education leaders on their toes here at NJ Left Behind.

About This Blog

NJLB - first every post (2008)Screenshot of the original NJ Left Behind blog.

NJ Left Behind started as an anonymous place for me to to vent my frustrations with the state’s inequitable education system.

I live in Lawrence Township (Mercer County) where six miles south is the low-performing, dysfunctional district of Trenton and six miles north is the elite, well-heeled district of Princeton. Why are Trenton children, mostly poor and of color, consigned to chronically-failing schools by virtue of their family’s inability to afford housing in districts like Princeton, where granite countertops come bundled with access to excellent education?

This pattern—inferior schools a stone’s throw from great ones—repeats itself in every county in the state. Twenty years ago, former Assembly Speaker Alan Karcher called New Jersey’s fragmented infrastructure—591 school districts, more per mile than any state in the country—“municipal madness.”

I look for sanity, especially as I spend more and more time with parents in cities like Camden and Newark where public school choice and accountability provide the only mechanisms for hope.

—Laura Waters