Newark Public Schools announces 'One Newark,' plan to reform the district

Newark Public Schools has announced a plan to reform the district, despite worry and protest from many parents. (2/7/14)

NEWARK - Newark Public Schools has announced a plan to reform the district, despite worry and protest from many parents.

The plan, called "One Newark," touts itself as the best way to turn around a district where about half the parents are dissatisfied with how the district is operating.

Janet Raymond has a second-grader in the district. "What's going to happen to the kids who live in the district, who go to school here?" she says. "What's going to happen to them?"

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"One Newark" allows the poorest students and those with disabilities or other issues to have the first crack at enrolling in a different school. Parents can list up to eight schools by preference.

It's a continuation of the reforms set in motion when Superintendent Cami Anderson came to Newark four years ago.

Many parents have supported the reforms, but there are others who have organized meetings in strong opposition to the superintendent's plan.

One concern is that charters are dominating the city's traditional district schools, while those schools are losing favor. Parents cite a disparity in school cancellations as a recent example. "The charter schools, the first day, they were called about 6 o'clock," says teacher and parent Michael Dixon. "Newark Public Schools, we had to come in and go to school that day."

Some educators and parents say they've felt pressure to be silenced, and in some cases, they feel the reaction to opposition has gotten personal.

News 12 New Jersey asked Newark Public Schools for a statement on the allegations made in this story, but the district has declined comment.

Parents have two more weeks to sign their children up for a different school. Those students will have their school match by April.

 

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