You’d never know it from listening to some of the rhetoric coming from the Christie administration, but New Jersey’s public schools remain among the very best in the nation.

Both fourth and eighth graders continue to rank near the very top of the country in math and reading. And not only are the scores good, they are still rising.

Similarly, our public high school students have the highest average Advanced Placement scores in the nation. In fact, in the latest results, the scores were the highest that any state has ever achieved! No wonder New Jersey’s public school students continue to score higher than their private school counterparts.

All of that helps explain why New Jersey boasts the nation’s highest graduation rate for the fifth consecutive year, and we are ranked near the top in the number of students going on to college and how well prepared they are to succeed once they get there.

So it’s no surprise that for the third year in a row, New Jersey was rated first in the nation for the quality of its public schools.

Facts like that are inconvenient to a governor who likes to portray New Jersey’s schools as failing, but they are good news for students and parents who rely on them to get a great education. And they are encouraging to the NJEA members who work so hard to make our schools the very best.

Of course, we’ll never rest on our laurels, because there will always be room to grow. That’s why tens of thousands of NJEA members will head to Atlantic City again this month to learn and grow at the NJEA Convention.

It’s why NJEA continues to fight for full funding and for research-based education reform policies, so that students and school employees have the resources and the environment they need to succeed.

It’s why NJEA has started a Priority Schools initiative, in order to take the lessons we have learned in our most successful schools and apply in communities that continue to struggle. Every child deserves a great public school and we won’t rest until every child has one.

It’s not an easy job. But none of us went into the profession because it was easy. We went into it to make a difference. And the numbers don’t lie: we are making a difference.

So congratulations for all you have done to bring our schools this far. And thank you for everything you will do to keep moving them forward.

Together, we are making a difference. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.