Friday, January 20, 2017

Fear Not the Four Horsemen: Newark Traditional Schools Are Improving!

Newark Public Schools just announced some news that may startle those who view the expansion of school choice as apocalyptic for children who remain in traditional district schools: student outcomes are improving. According to Superintendent Chris Cerf, NPS administrators are “very encouraged by results that show our students continue to make steady progress.” In fact, according to data released by the district, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding expectations across the district is up six percentage points in English Language Arts and two and a half percent points in math, based on the last round of Common Core-aligned PARCC assessments.

Cerf, however, isn’t ready to celebrate. He cautioned in the district press release that,
many of our schools still have a long way to go. That is why we gathered recommendations from the public last year to determine ways the district can make further progress and are sharing how we are implementing those recommendations. We think it is important we are all on the same page about how we are using this information to continue to improve student learning.
In addition to the improvements in students outcomes, NPS notes that:

  • The vast majority of schools are making progress. PARCC data reveals that 48 of 57 schools are showing improvement in ELA, and 40 of 57 schools are showing improvement in Math.
  • 3 NPS high schools and 5 NPS elementary schools beat the state average in either ELA or Math, or both.
The data should buffet confidence in the strategic plan designed for New Jersey’s largest school district. For more data, see here.

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