CPRE : Consortium for Policy Research in Education

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Case Study

Franklin Elementary School Rahway, NJ

For the students of Franklin Elementary School in Rahway, NJ, the name “Merck” is a familiar presence, visible on the smokestacks at the company’s corporate headquarters one mile west of the school and emblazoned on overpasses that arc across the town’s highways. Because company volunteers are active in their classrooms in most grades, Franklin students also have gotten to know Merck employees personally.

What students may not realize, however, is the impact the Merck Institute for Science Education (MISE) has had on the science instruction they receive at Franklin. Students know they enjoy “doing science.” They relish the fact that they get to “be like real scientists” and explore answers to real problems; they just don’t realize that without the systemic reform initiated by MISE in 1993, they would not be encouraged to see themselves as youngsters actively engaged in scientific inquiry.

Located in central New Jersey, Rahway is less than 30 miles south of New York City. The town has been described as a “multi-ethnic community” located within a “semi-urban setting.” Approximately 48% of Rahway’s citizens are members of minority groups. The town’s 26,000+ citizens represent a wide range of the economic spectrum with an average household income of $45,256.

Publication Date

March 2003