Newark Public Schools

We’ll be discussing local control of Newark Public Schools during our live broadcast of Newark Today Thursday October 19 at 8PM.  We invite the community to be a part of the audience at Express Newark in the downtown district’s historic Hahne’s building.  Your host, NJTV’s Michael Hill will be joined by city Mayor Ras Baraka and a panel of guests.  Doors open tonight at 7:15. Newark Today live October 19 at 8PM on WBGO and wbgo.org

Now that Newark Public Schools are in position to regain control of governance from the state, parents are asking if the city is ready. 

Ken Downey Jr. / WBGO

It’s been over two decades since plundering graduation rates, and overall poor performance forced the state to seize control of Newark Public Schools.  In recent years, a combination of state and city led initiatives changed education in Brick City.  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie calls the return of local control a watershed moment.

“In the last six years, the accomplishments of this system are very impressive.  The job is certainly not complete, but we’ve made real progress at times in the face of real emotional opposition.”

Ang Santos / WBGO

Governor Chris Christie says the Newark Public Schools district has proven it has the programs, policies, and personnel in place to maintain progress in city schools.

“After more than 20 years of state control the progress made over the last six and a half years will afford the state the opportunity to return the Newark Public Schools to local control.  This is a watershed moment for Newark’s education community.”

Christie says the state board of education will vote next week to approve the transition of control back to Newark Public Schools.

Ang Santos / WBGO

  A pair of industrial fans blow in the gymnasium at West Side High School in Newark.  A yoga instructor introduces the mountain pose to about one-hundred members of the school’s staff.

“We’re going into our ninth year in some city schools,” said Debbie Kaminsky, founder of Newark Yoga Movement.  “We found that after a twenty-minute session of yoga, that 64 percent of students were more peaceful and less stressed.  So with that, we started bringing yoga to more schools in Newark.  It really has traction after we taught over 26,000 students and over 3,000 educators.”

Ang Santos / WBGO

It’s been over twenty years since the state took control of Newark Public School’s because of low graduation rates and overall poor student performance.  It’s been a rocky road for the city’s education system since, and many residents believe not much has changed over the course of time.

At First Avenue School in Newark’s North Ward, about 100 city residents gathered to hear Mayor Ras Baraka’s latest updates on regaining local control of schools.  They had their own concerns.