NEWARK, N.J. - Governor Chris Christie announced in Newark Wednesday that the state board of education is expected to vote at next week's meeting to return control of the Newark School District back to the local board of education after decades of state control.
“This story of education in this city is a story 20 years in the waiting," Gov. Christie said, as he touted strides made by Newark's students, educators and schools in recent years. "Kids in Newark public schools are getting a better education today than they did six years ago."
Gov. Christie launched a reform effort for Newark Schools six years ago.
In 1995, Newark Schools were deemed to be low-performing, crumbling, even corrupt.
Today, despite stricter requirements, the graduation rate in Newark has climbed from 59 percent in 2011 to 75 percent.
In 2011, Newark Schools were in the 41st percentile in math. They are now in the 75th statewide. Newark Schools climbed in english from the 44th percentile to the 78th.
Newark is now home to one of the best magnet school programs in the state.
Christie also said that Newark's charter schools have virtually eliminated the achievement gap between students living in poverty and those from average means. Charter schools in the city are attended by nearly 50 percent of all African American students in Newark.
Christie said charter schools and teacher evaluations were main drivers of the district's turnaround. He also credited a $100 million donation by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and the leadership of former Mayor Cory Booker, current superintendent Chris Cerf and former superintendent Cami Anderson.
With his blessing, Christie said he expects the state board of education to vote yes at their Sep. 13 meeting to relinquish control of Newark Schools.
"Let the facts about Newark students’ academic success be your greatest guide as we move forward," said Christie. "That is all that truly all that matters in helping them achieve their dreams."