Newark Central High School’s principal, Ras Baraka, is engaged in a fierce battle to win a Council seat in the South Ward. Son of the former Poet Laureate of New Jersey, Amiri Baraka (who wrote a poem ascribing blame for the September 11th, 2001 attacks to Israel and George Bush), the younger Baraka radiates pride at his accomplishments during his two-year tenure at Central, telling Politickernj, “[m]y position is all kids deserve a state of the art high school like this one."
Can he be head administrator of Central High and Council Member at the same time? No problem, says Baraka.
I intend to collect both salaries. I think it's funny that they keep asking about that since some of them have three or more jobs. Joe Parlavecchio was principal of East Side High School and chair of the party. Come on. Being a principal keeps me grounded. This is political. I'm going to use part of that City Hall salary to employ people at City Hall, particularly people from the South Ward.Let’s look at that "state of the art high school" that all kids deserve, Newark Central High, where things run so smoothly that its chief administrator can moonlight as City Councilman.
- 58.1% of students failed the Language Arts portion of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).
- 77.8% of students failed the Math portion of the HSPA.
- 49.7% graduate via the Special Review Assessment (for students who can’t pass the 8th grade-level HSPA)
- Average SAT scores: 330 Math, 340 Verbal
- Two Advanced Placement courses offered. No student received a 3 or better.
Grim? Not according to Principal/Councilman Baraka, who writes on something called Alumni Round-Up, “Right now I’m working on turning my high School, Central High, around. I’m working on making it a safe haven, and educational gem in the community a resource and a shining beacon for the entire community. I am also working on developing an anti violence initiative and approach to dealing with urban crime that can be duplicated all over the country. As well as work on a spoken word presentation.”
- Comparative Cost per Pupil: $18,580
Doesn't happen too often, but we’re speechless.