***For Immediate Release***

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Contact: press@njchildren.org


Despite Major Policy Questions, 11 of 11 Newark Charters Renew Participation in System that Gives Parents Choice Of Public Schools In One, Easy-To-Use Tool

NEWARK – Today, a local non-profit applauded the Newark Board of Education, Superintendent, and nearly all of the city’s public charter schools for renewing their seventh consecutive year of collaboration on a single, citywide enrollment system. The school district is expected to announce at tonight’s board meeting that 11 of the 11 participating charter schools from last year renewed their participation in this year’s system, despite major policy reservations about how that system will protect parent access.

The local board of education runs the system, and at issue was whether the website remains open to families to handle their enrollment business for most of the year (as it has for all the prior years), or just during the two-month application window from December 7 to February 14. 

“We applaud the charter and district leaders for putting aside their differences and doing what is best for families,” said Kyle Rosenkrans, Executive Director of the New Jersey Children’s Foundation (NJCF), a local non-profit that promotes collaboration between the district and charter school sectors. 

A recent public opinion poll by NJCF found that 87% of Newarkers support the city’s enrollment system, and 79% prefer a year-round enrollment website over a two-month application website.

In the Newark Enrolls System, parents can apply to up to eight district or charter schools on one application, ranked in order of preference. Students who wish to stay at their current school do not need to apply. Newark Enrolls matches students with one school, the highest possible choice with space available. The application window opened on December 7 and runs until February 14.

In its early years, the common enrollment policy was deemed controversial but has been embraced by Newark’s new Superintendent Roger Leon and the city’s Board of Education who have taken a more collaborative approach to the city’s growing charter school sector–which now educates nearly 40 percent of all students in the city.

More information about Newark Enrolls:

  • Thousands of Newark parents have accessed Newark Enrolls to express their school preference. Last year over 11,500 students submitted applications through Newark Enrolls.
  • Families choose both district and charter schools in large numbers. Last year 49% of K-12 applicants chose a district school as their first choice while 51% chose a charter school first. 
  • Most students are matched to a top choice. In 2018-19 94% of Kindergarten applicants were matched to one of their top three choices.
  • Students with special education needs have greater access to schools of their choice. A 2018 report by Columbia University and MarGrady research found that the distribution of special education students among schools has become more equitable since Newark Enrolls launched.
  • Students are matched to their sibling’s school at high rates. In 2018-19, 95% of students who applied to attend their sibling’s school were matched there.
  • Students who wish to attend a school in their neighborhood can do so. In 2018-19, 98% of Kindergarten applicants who chose a district school in their neighborhood first were matched in their neighborhood.

About the New Jersey Children’s Foundation:

The New Jersey Children’s Foundation is a non-profit organization aimed at promoting a fact-based discussion about public education in Newark. Our mission is to invest in people, programs, and partnerships that will improve public education systems by putting the interests of children first. Our vision is that every child will break down the walls of inequity through the creation of high-quality public education systems. Our theory of change is that when communities are armed with accurate information about public education and given the tools to act, cities will demand great schools for every student.