Rogerr Leon

State Returns Newark Schools to Local Control, Following Two-Year Transition

NJ Spotlight reports on Newark regaining full control of its school system July 1, quoting SASN Political Scientist Domingo Morel, who has extensively studied school takeovers.

From the article:

Newark was the third district to be taken over by the state, following Jersey City in 1989 and Paterson in 1991 — both of which remain under state oversight. While most Newarkers acknowledged their schools’ struggles, many also saw the state’s harsh intervention as politically and racially motivated. Domingo Morel, a political scientist at Rutgers University-Newark who has studied district takeovers, said the data support those claims.

New Jersey and other states were more likely to seize control of districts that served mostly Black students and where many municipal leaders were Black, he found. (More than 90% of Newark students are Black or Hispanic, and more than 80% qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch, a measure of poverty.)

The takeovers in Newark and other cities often followed court cases that boosted funding for high-poverty districts.

“It was a political battle between Democratic cities with Black political leadership and conservative state administrations,” he said. “Schools are such an important part of this because they represent the largest portion of city and state budgets.”