But more significantly, every family is now empowered to choose the public school that will serve them best (district, charter or magnet) through a centralized, equitable and politically neutral system called Newark Enrolls.
Interestingly, the recent growth in charters has not resulted in a corresponding reduction in traditional schools. In fact, energized by family choice and increasing academic performance, total public school enrollment in Newark has increased over time, and is higher than at any point in recent history.
More importantly, this focus on a unitary, governance-indifferent approach to public school options in the city corresponds with (and I believe contributed materially to) significant improvements in all sectors. For example, 36 percent of our high school students now attend a non-charter public school that exceeds the state average in reading and math—and let me proudly say that New Jersey always ranks among the top two or three states in the nation.
In elementary and middle school, the following chart says it all. Combining district and charter public schools, during this period Newark’s standing relative to comparable districts in the state leapt from the 33rd percentile to the 83rd percentile in math and from the 44th to the 81st in reading.