About

My name is Paul Debraski. I was born in New Jersey and have lived in New Jersey all of my life. My state is the butt of many jokes, primarily because we have a lot of industry here.  And yet what many people don’t realize is just how beautiful New Jersey is.

This blog is designed as a showcase for the beauty that is the Garden State.

Although I say I’ve lived all my life in New Jersey, I did spend some time away from home (college, grad school), and yet, I always came back to New Jersey.  And that’s because I think the state is awesome.  We have beaches, we have neighborhoods, we have awesome parks, we have rivers, we have seasons!–we get blizzards, we get heatwaves, we have beautiful autumn foliage and we have spring showers.  And yet despite the awesome diversity, we also have an incredible lack of natural disasters.  We almost never have tornadoes, we almost never have earthquakes, we have only localized flooding.

Over the course of this blog I’m going to fill in some fascinating stats about New Jersey.

Like this one: New Jersey consistently ranks at or near the bottom in terms of States return on Federal Taxes.  In other words, for every tax dollar that New Jerseyians contribute to federal taxes, we receive the least money back (in the last few years it has averaged between .57 and .61 cents).  So, you’re welcome United States, for all of our money.  [In comparison, Mississippi, ranked #2 on the list receives $2 for every $1 they contribute].

Or, how about this great news about New Jersey’s education standards:

Among the nation’s “Smartest States”: New Jersey has been named as one of the four “smartest states” in the country based on the quality of its public elementary and secondary schools.
Source: Morgan, Kathleen O’Leary and Scott Morgan (eds). Education State Rankings 2007-2008: Pre K-12 Education in the 50 United States. (Morgan Quitno Press: Lawrence, KS). 2007.

Writing scores are the best in the nation: New Jersey 8th graders rank first in the nation in writing on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
Source: National Center for Education Statistics.

Math scores are among the nation’s best: New Jersey public school students score among the very best in the nation in math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Reading scores are among the nation’s best: New Jersey public school students score among the very best in the nation in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Highest Advanced Placement scores in the nation: New Jersey is first in the nation in the average Advanced Placement (AP) score for public school students this year.
Source: College BoardPublic school students outperform private school students on Advanced Placement exams: In New Jersey, public school students score higher than private school students on their AP exams.
Source: College Board

High school graduation rate as the best in the nation: New Jersey ranks number one in the percentage of students graduating high school.
Source: Education Week

Among the best in the nation in preparing students for higher education: The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education ranks New Jersey near the top for how well its schools prepare students for college.
Source: National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education

I love just about everything in our state.  From the Paterson Falls to the Cape May lighthouse.  The only thing I do not love about our state is our horrible new Governor.  Governor Christie, in the most blatant case of paying back people for votes is hell-bent on ruining all of the public services that make New Jersey so great.  All in a pledge to “cut property taxes.”  Now, I’d love to see my property taxes cut as much as anyone, but not if it means that our schools suffer, our libraries suffer, our parks suffer, our kids suffer.  New Jerseyians listened to talk radio way too much and decided to axe Corzine without realizing just how bad Christie compares to him.  And we are going to pay the price for the next few years.  Just as my kids are entering the school system.  Thanks, Republicans.  Thanks a bunch.

But, while that is going on, there’s still plenty of natural beauty to enjoy.

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