Education think tank gives Newark schools A- for school choice

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for
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on February 07, 2015

NEWARK — An education think tank gave Newark Public Schools district high marks for offering parents choice in what type of school their children can attend.

Out of the country's 100 largest school districts, the Brown Center on Education at the Brookings Institute put the district in the number three slot behind only New Orleans and New York City respectively.

In a 10-page report, the Washington D.C.-based research firm cited the district's universal enrollment system, in which parents submit a list of up to 8 preferred schools and are then entered into a lottery to receive a school placement.

"New to our list of top performers this year, Newark, standout in their use of a centralized computer-based algorithm to assign public high school students to schools in such a way as to maximize the match between student preferences and school assignment," the researchers wrote.

But Newark's universal enrollment system has been controversial among local politicians, who argue that the system separates siblings, prevents students from attending neighborhood schools and forces students to travel long distances to school.

And earlier this month, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka released a letter he sent to state education commissioner David Hespe asking for additional information behind the algorithm used in the universal enrollment system.

To see the full report click here.

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