‘One Newark’ by the Numbers — Charters Rate as Top Grade-School Choice

John Mooney | May 28, 2014 | Education
Trend reverses for high schools, with district schools leading the list of preferences

As the fight over the “One Newark” reorganization plan for the city’s public schools continues unabated, an interesting pattern has emerged early as to where families want their children to go to school.

In the first round of applications opened up to Newark students, 12,000 families made their choices — from one to eight — and favored two of the city’s high-flying charter school networks as their top choices for elementary school.

The North Star Academy led the list, chosen first by almost a quarter of the 8,000 families making elementary school decisions. It was followed by the TEAM Academy Charter School, before the first district school — Ann Street — was listed.

But when it came to high schools, it was the district’s magnet schools and even a few of its comprehensive schools that led the list.

Science Park High School took the top spot, followed by Technology and Arts and the comprehensive East Side High School. The highest-ranked charter was North Star Academy, listed in seventh place.

Much of the debate has been about if students will actually end up at these schools. Students and activists led another protest in the city yesterday against the One Newark plan, with families complaining that they ended up in schools across the city or with no matches at all.

According to the district, in the first round — which accounted for a third of overall enrollment — 45 percent were given their first choices, and 57 percent their first or second choice.

But the next round is under way, along with appeals from the first round, and the district said it will not have final enrollment numbers until that process is completed in mid-June.