Study finds Newark Charter Schools Improve Test Scores

Students at Uncommon Schools North Star Academy, one of two charter school networks in Newark credited in a study with raising math and reading scores.
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A study by a Boston University professor for a New York-based think tank has determined that attending a Newark charter school is among the most impactful education interventions studied by researchers.

Marcus Winters, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and an associate professor at Boston University's Wheelock School of Education, conducted the study using data he was able to obtain from the city’s common enrollment program starting in the 2013-14 school year. His data spans up to 2017-18 school year.

The study found that attending a Newark charter school leads to “large” and “sustained” improvement for students. Winters found that students attending the KIPP New Jersey and Uncommon Schools North Star Academy charter school networks posted the largest increase in standardized test scores. KIPP and Uncommon account for about half of the students enrolled in charter schools in Newark.

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Kiburi Tucker, Newark Political Scion, Ally of Mayor Baraka, Restarts Life After Prison

Kiburi Tucker, in this 2017 photo, talks about the lessons he learned while spending 17 months in federal prison for embezzlement.
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NEWARK, NJ — Kiburi Tucker, scion of one of Newark's most prominent political families and longtime friend of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, has re-entered the city after completing his sentence in federal prison.

He's living in a halfway house on Frelinghuysen Avenue not far from his home and the childcare center he admitted to defrauding. He's landed a job, working for a friend in the private sector. And he's working on rebuilding his life, starting with his family.

"Family was always primary to me. You know, I think when you go through certain things, you get a clearer vision. You know your purpose and figure out what your real purpose in life is," said Tucker, 45, the married father of a 3-year-old daughter. "And my purpose is to be there for my family."

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Newark on Track to Regain Full Control of Its Schools Early in 2020

PATRICK WALL, CHALKBEAT | DECEMBER 10, 2019 

NJ Spotlight

Newark’s state-appointed monitor, Anzella King-Nelms, has helped guide the school district during its two-year exit from state control.

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Newark is poised to regain full control of its schools early next year, formally ending a decades-long state takeover, state officials said this week.

The state restored authority to Newark’s elected school board in 2018 under the condition that it meet the requirements of a two-year transition plan. A newly released progress report says the district has so far “fully implemented” those requirements, according to a presentation before the state Board of Education last week. If the district continues on that course, it will exit state monitoring and complete its return to local control in February.

“They are moving exactly as a model school district should be moving,” state Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet said after the board meeting on Wednesday. He also cited the positive feedback from Newark’s “highly skilled professional,” a state monitor overseeing the transition.

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Baraka: Our police department has made major progress. We don’t need $38M in additional upgrades.

Posted Dec 04, 2019

By Ras Baraka

Perhaps, the greatest barometer of change is a 73% decrease in excessive force complaints, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka says. Above, the mayor applauds as 122 new police officers are sworn in on Dec., 15 2017.

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Three weeks after I was sworn in as the 40th Mayor of Newark on July 1, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice released the findings of an investigation of the city’s police department, using data and reports from a six-year period ending in 2012.

The findings documented things many Newarkers, myself included, already knew. I was born two years after the 1967 Newark Rebellion that further ignited the already-existing activism of my father, Amiri Baraka, and many other city residents, whose voices were loud and critical of Newark police practices at the time and afterward.

The Justice Department investigation commenced in May of 2011, after a petition by the American Civil Liberties Union, and studied a period of police actions from 2007 until June of 2012.

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Pioneering Newark Politician Calvin West Dies at 87

Calvin West circa 1966
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NEWARK, NJ — Calvin West, Newark’s first African American councilman-at-large who spent his lifetime fighting for the rights of others, died this morning. He was 87.

A Newark native, West ran on a slate with Mayor Hugh Addonizio in 1966 and became the second African American to serve on the City Council, following the re-election of Central Ward Councilman Irvine Turner.

West fought to "rebuild our city and the hopes of our people, with wisdom, warmth, and compassion," said Mayor Ras Baraka. "He became a respected leader in both Newark’s history and our state."

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Newark Museum Is Now the Newark Museum of Art

By 

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Nov. 6, 2019

 

Shakespeare might be right that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” but the leaders of New Jersey’s largest museum felt that changing its name was an important part of shaping its identity. The Newark Museum announced on Wednesday that it would now be known as the Newark Museum of Art.

Linda Harrison, the museum’s chief executive and director, explained that the decision to change its name was driven by both practical and philosophical considerations. Surveys conducted by the museum revealed that a large portion of its prospective audience was confused about what type of museum the Newark Museum was. “The data really helped drive home that we want to be clear and have people be clear about what we are and what they can expect,” she said in an interview.

Among the 110-year-old museum’s most significant holdings are its collection of Tibetan art, considered to be one of the most significant in the Western Hemisphere, and its collection of American art, which includes work from the colonial era and the 19th century Hudson River School of painting as well as modern pieces by Edward HopperGeorgia O’Keeffe and others.

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Nonprofit Coalition Commits to Raising Newark Voter Registration by 10% in 2020

Nineteen Newark-based nonprofits committed to registering a collective 4,100 unregistered Newark voters at Tuesday's Close the Gap campaign kickoff.
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NEWARK, NJ — Among municipalities throughout Essex County and the state, Newark historically suffers from a woeful record of voter participation.

A coalition of 19 nonprofits is leading the charge to close the voter registration gap by 10 percent by March 2020, signaling a renewed sense of urgency ahead of the next national election. 

Led by the Project Ready, an organization dedicated to strengthening Newark’s civic action through community education campaigns and initiatives, the coalition launched its Close the Gap campaign on Tuesday, coinciding with local and statewide elections. 

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Questions Remain as Newark District and Charters Work to Reapprove School Application System

PATRICK WALL, CHALKBEAT | OCTOBER 30, 2019 

NJ Spotlight

Newark Schools Supt. Roger León says he’s looking to “move forward.”

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With application season for the next school year quickly approaching, Newark’s district and charter school leaders are racing to resolve their differences over the city’s shared enrollment system.

The two sides have been hammering out changes to an agreement that specifies how the district will operate the computerized system that lets families use a single application to apply to traditional schools and participating charter schools. The Newark school board had been slated to vote on the agreement, which must be approved annually, earlier this month but postponed the vote until this week.

Superintendent Roger León said his team needed more time to address the concerns charter leaders had raised about the enrollment agreement. He promised to reconvene representatives from both sides soon to discuss any disagreements.

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‘When They See You, They See Themselves’: Newark’s Male Teachers of Color

DEVNA BOSE, CHALKBEAT | OCTOBER 25, 2019

NJ Spotlight

(Left to right): Rilwan Adeniran, James Mathis, Lamar Washington, Isaac Abankwa

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Even in Newark, where some 90% of students are black or Hispanic, male educators of color make up just 13% of the district’s teaching force.

“We cannot stand for that, we cannot stand for that,” a group of teachers, all men of color, were prompted to chant as they gathered last Friday for a happy hour at the TRYP Hotel in downtown Newark. They numbered more than 100 and had come representing local traditional, charter, and independent schools.

Across the country, about 20% of teachers are people of color, and black men make up a mere 2% of U.S. teachers. In Newark, that percentage is slightly higher, around 8%, but Roger León — Newark Public Schools’ first Latino superintendent, who was at the gathering — acknowledged that there’s much more work to do.

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Housing advocacy group challenges changes to Newark’s rent control ordinance

Posted Oct 17, 2019

Newark council members recently repealed a portion of an ordinance that allowed them to hear appeals of rent control decisions, drawing criticism and a lawsuit from a housing group.

A Newark official says the council wasn’t equipped to make such rulings.

Homes for All Newark said 1,800 signatures were collected to initiate the council to vote on the 2017 amendment that gave renters and landlords the option to appeal rent control decisions either before the Superior Court or the council. Before the council approved the measure about two years ago, rent control decisions could only be appealed in court.

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