The program, which went live Jan. 6, is a groundbreaking collaboration between the Newark public school district and the city's robust charter school sector. As of now, more than three quarters -- 16 of the city's 21 public charter schools -- are on board to participate. They should be commended for their willingness to step up and be part of the solution for better schools in Newark.
Public charter schools are often accused of "cherry picking" their students, avoiding special needs or high-risk students. A universal enrollment system will alleviate those concerns. Parents can list their top eight public district or charter school choices in order of preference, and the district will place students according to availability. Newark's universal enrollment initiative is bolder than others in its efforts to best serve students with the greatest needs. The system will give greater preference to students with special education needs, students who are eligible for free lunch, and students who want to attend a school in the community where they live.