By Kyle Rosenkrans

This week, The Newark Star-Ledger editorial board published an editorial highlighting a recent report on academic progress in Camden. Here’s what we take away from it and what we think it means for Newark:

  1. City education systems can evolve into a mix of district schools and charter/renaissance schools and deliver a net improvement in student learning. As our recent “New Baseline” report points out, a similar trend is playing out in Newark.
  2. It’s possible for school district and charter/renaissance supporters to put aside the acrimony and work together as partners rather than competitors. Camden’s city leaders have mostly embraced the changes that have occurred and the resulting progress. Newark took longer to reach this point than Camden, but the outlook in both places is strong as a result.
  3. Rigorous research like this promotes a fact-based conversation about what works in education and it helps us all rise above the rhetoric to focus on the most important question: are children learning more today than they were before? Objective measures like this help us know whether we’re on the right track, and give us more insight than the standard batch of annual data from the state.