NEWARK, NJ - U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) today announced that the State of New Jersey will receive $9,485,864 from the U.S. Department of Education's (DOE) School Improvement Grants (SIG) program.The funding will help turn around the Garden State's most chronically underachieving schools by giving educators the resources they need to strive for excellence.

"Education is the key that unlocks a child's future," said Sen. Menendez. "It gives them the foundation to succeed in life and pursue their dreams. When federal resources like these are used for improving young people's classroom experiences, they restore hope and opportunity for New Jersey students who are helplessly trapped in failing schools. We owe it to every child and their families."

"If we want to compete globally, it's essential that we invest in our schools - especially those schools that are underperforming," Sen. Booker said. "Ultimately, our economy will only be as strong as its classrooms, and it's a disservice to our children, to the state and to the entire nation when we fail to act to help teachers and students in low-achieving schools. The School Improvement Grants announced today will aid in helping to close the achievement gap in some of the lowest performing schools in New Jersey and will help restore hope to children who deserve a high-quality education."

New Jersey is among nine states that will share more than $71 million from this latest round of SIG awards. According to DOE, local school districts that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to provide the necessary resources to substantially raise student achievement in their lowest-performing schools can apply for subgrants through the State.

More than 1,500 of the country's lowest-performing schools have each received up to $2 million in SIG funding under the Obama Administration. DOE reports that these schools are improving, and that some of the greatest gains have been in small towns and rural communities.