What’s happening to Newark’s public schools and why

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

There are approximately 12,000 fewer students attending traditional Newark Public Schools than there were just five years ago. Roughly 10,000 of those former Newark Public School students attend one of the 27 Newark Public Charter Schools operated by 18 different providers. Approximately 2,000 are simply off the rolls, either because families moved, or because the children are not attending school. If no new charter public schools are approved and opened in Newark, and only those currently operating grow to previously approved scale, a full 40% of Newark's school-aged children will be educated in a public charter school within two years.

The result? A 250 million dollar budget gap in two years, compounded by soaring infrastructure costs associated with maintaining or bringing up to code underutilized and dilapidated school buildings and holding on to excess staff, all while working to educate those young people who, for many reasons, have academic, social, and emotional needs that require exceptional skills, and additional resources for them to be successful.

Of the schools currently operated by the Newark Public School district, not one is rated as "excellent," and fewer than 20% are considered in the "good" range. That leaves over 80% of the district schools in the "poor" designation in terms of student achievement. These include K-8 schools with fewer than 25% reading on grade level, and high schools with fewer than 20% graduating with a traditional diploma.

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