Academic journal article Education Next

Spotlight on Newark

Academic journal article Education Next

Spotlight on Newark

Article excerpt

Your essay on Mayor Cory Booker's aspirations for change in the Newark Public Schools District ("Home Is Where the Heart Is," features, Fall 2006) was encouraging in one respect but discouraging in many others. It is extremely important to have a chief executive running our city who is clearly committed to helping all children achieve in school and reach for a higher standard of living. I, as superintendent of the district, and a veteran of 38 years, welcome Mayor Booker's voice, support, and leadership. On the other hand, it was disturbing to read a depiction of our schools as "still a mess."

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While we have much more to do, there are several areas in which the district is improving. Over the last four years, in language arts our 4th-grade students improved from a passing rate of 52 percent to 70 percent, and in math for the same period, from 31 to 71.5 percent. From 1999 to 2005, high-school graduation rates increased from 45.7 to 75.9 percent. During the same period, the number of high-school students enrolled in AP classes quadrupled. …

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