Rutgers School of Law–Newark professor Paul Tractenberg, an authority on education law and policy, has begun a year-long sabbatical to carry out an international comparative study of education reform processes. The study will take him to three countries and four universities — the University of Toronto, Tel Aviv University, Haifa University, and the University of Helsinki — where he will be a visiting scholar at the schools of law and education. While in Tel Aviv, he will give the keynote at a conference, supported by the U.S. Embassy in Israel, on education law and policy.
Professor Tractenberg’s study is backed in part by the Miller Family International Initiative, which was established by alumnus Paul S. Miller ’62, a retired pharmaceutical industry executive, to support international opportunities and policy research at Rutgers School of Law–Newark as well as faculty and student exchanges. As the first Miller Family International Initiative Scholar, Tractenberg will study high-performing school districts and identify how elements of their success can be brought back to Newark and other urban school districts. To be eligible for the support, the faculty member must pursue a project that will result not only in a written report but in a practical application of the findings at the end of his/her leave abroad.
Tractenberg is a Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor and Alfred C. Clapp Distinguished Public Service Professor of Law. He is the author of numerous publications on education law; a frequent lecturer; and, over the years, a consultant and adviser to national, regional, and state organizations and agencies. He contributed a lengthy chapter on Abbott v. Burke and school funding equalization litigation for the new book Courting Justice: Ten New Jersey Cases That Shook the Nation (Rutgers University Press), which he edited. In 2000, he established and continues to serve as co-director of the Institute on Education Law and Policy, an interdisciplinary research project at Rutgers–Newark. The institute’s projects explore such policy issues as school governance, school choice, accountability, funding, and shared services.
In its latest endeavor, the institute is working with the Elizabeth, New Jersey public schools on a comprehensive approach to improving the success of the systems’ schools and students. The initiative is modeled in part on the institute’s Newark Schools Research Collaborative, whose mission is to provide independent research into what works in raising academic achievement for children in Newark public and charter schools.