Newark Update

I have a new column up at NJ Spotlight called “The Four Factors Behind Newark’s Education Turnaround.” It starts here:

New Jersey is a fragmented and complicated state, splintered into 565 municipalities and even more school districts. Newark is its microcosm, a byzantine culture of powerful ward bosses who control every aspect of governance, including its school system. Although I’ve been writing about education in New Jersey for a decade, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to understand Newark.


Given its history, the turnaround in New Jersey’s largest district is nothing short of remarkable. After 22 years of state control with little change in student achievement — the school board is in the process of regaining complete governance — all of a sudden Newark Public Schools is boasting about its students’ test scores and graduating seniors’ college admissions.


This from a school system that the state described in 1993 as “flagrantly delinquent and at worst deceptive” in its mission of serving children; where one out of every two Newark students didn’t graduate from high school and average SAT scores were 311 in verbal and 363 in math; a district that civil rights leader Robert Curvin described as “shortchang[ing] the overwhelming majority of children who enter its classrooms.


What happened?

Read the rest here.

In other Newark news, Michele Mason, Executive Director of the Newark Charter School Fund,just released this statement:

Parents are partners: Newark Enrolls helps deliver on the public schools’ promise to families to offer equitable access to educational quality, innovation, and opportunity for their children.


Under this program, knowledge combined with choice empowers families, improves our schools—and strengthens our city.


Newark Enrolls helps make sure every child is matched to the school best suited to meet their needs and prepare them for success in life, college, and community. It’s a great example of the collaboration that’s key to Newark’s future.


Parents and students: visit the Newark Enrolls website at for all the information on how to make the most of this open enrollment season, and come to the Newark City-Wide School Fair December 9 at Barringer High School to get an
up-close look at your options.

What do you think?

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