IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Harvard Study Adds to Growing Body of Evidence About Progress in Newark Schools

Did Newark’s school reform efforts work? This study takes a look | A Harvard study released Monday takes a look at a narrow slice of data to understand the impact these reforms had on student growth outcomes in both charter and traditional public schools when compared to similar peers statewide. “Although the school closures and other reforms were wrenching for many communities in Newark, the subsequent movement of students into more effective district and charter schools seems to be paying off for children,” said researcher Thomas Kane, an economist and professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. (, 10/16/ 2017)

Tap Into NJStudies reveal overall gains for Newark’s public schools | Studies reveal that Newark’s district and charter schools are providing better results for students, showing improvement in growth rates in recent years in English/Language Arts (ELA) and Math that are consistently higher than the state average. The studies also confirm the latest data out of Newark Public Schools, which reveal the district has made significant strides in closing the achievement gap, with NPS students making faster gains than their peers statewide and a dramatic increase in high school graduation rates between 2011 to 2017. (TapInto Newark, 10/16/17)

Closures, Charters Drove Newark School Improvements in Reading | In a working paper released this morning… researchers from Harvard and Dartmouth universities found that higher-performing schools in the Newark district provided a buffer for the shock of disruption in the early years of the initiative and gave improvement programs within schools more time to gain traction. The study comes as Newark reverts from state to local control of schools this year, and residents debate how to shape the district in the future. “Sustainability is the question in Newark going forward,” said Harvard economist Thomas Kane, one of the authors of the study. “I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do think that the folks in Newark should be recognizing the factors that allowed it to make the progress it has over the years.” (Ed Week, 10/16/17)

What is Driving Newark Students’ Academic Growth? Answers Here, Via New Harvard Analysis | There’s much to parse here. I recommend that interested readers read the report itself, as well as a paper by Jesse Margolis entitled “Moving Up: Progress in Newark’s Schools from 2010-2017.” This overview is solely about Newark students’ academic growth and well-being. And that growth is considerable. According to the Harvard analysis, as well as the Margolis paper, Newark schools are providing better results for students, especially in English Language Arts (ELA). Growth rates for students — not absolute proficiency levels but growth from year to year — are consistently higher than the state average. (NJLeft Behind, 10/16/17)

Harvard Study Adds to Growing Body of Evidence About Progress in Newark Schools | “This study confirms the progress that is being made in Newark schools and shows that reforms undertaken – particularly in areas like citywide enrollment and expansion of high quality schools – are making a real difference for Newark students,” noted Superintendent of Newark Public Schools Christopher D. Cerf. (Newark Public Schools, 10/16/17)


MOVING UP: PROGRESS IN NEWARK’S SCHOOLS FROM 2010 TO 2017 | Newark’s public schools entered the national spotlight in 2010 when it was announced that $200 million in private philanthropy would be donated to the school district.  This gift supported numerous significant reforms in the city’s public schools, and these reforms generated substantial upheaval, as has been well documented elsewhere.  Less well documented is the progress the city’s public schools have made over the past seven years.  The study seeks to fill that gap, taking multiple approaches to analyzing progress in Newark using student test scores at the elementary and middle school level, the graduation rate at the high school level, and student enrollment at all levels.  Where possible, this study also replicates earlier work by other researchers, updating their analysis with the most recent data available. (Jesse Margolis, PHD, MarGrady Research, October 2017)

Evaluating Newark’s Education Reforms | Aided by $200 million in private philanthropy, city and state leaders launched a major school reform effort in Newark, New Jersey. In this study, researchers evaluate the impacts of Newark’s education reform efforts, starting in the 2011–2012 school year. (Thomas Kane & Douglas Staiger, Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University, October 2017)


Information about Harvard Study from Newark Public Schools | The study shows improvement in growth rates in recent years in ELA, and shows results in Math that are consistently higher than the state average. These findings are generally aligned with analysis NPS has shared in recent years that show results across all schools are improving for Newark students. While the study focuses on results using a very specific measure growth on value added between 2010 and 2015-16 – the latest PARCC results from 2016-17 show even more continued improvement. When you examine the improvement of these results over time, compare Newark’s results with those from other districts, and note that graduation rates during this period are also up more than 15 percentage points since 2010 (from around 60% to 77% in 2017), the impact becomes clear. The sum of these results show us that thousands more Newark students are reading and doing math on grade level, and graduating on time, than there were in 2010. This is the goal of any educational improvement effort and our hope is to build on this progress and continue to improve these outcomes for Newark students. (Newark Public Schools, October 2017)

Newark Public Schools PARCC Results Show Continued Progress | On Friday September 29th, the New Jersey Department of Education released statewide PARCC results that showed gains in both English Language Arts (ELA) and Math for Newark Students. Newark Public School (NPS) leaders have now analyzed this data, which shows that Newark’s results have not only improved, but compare more favorably than ever before with other districts across the state. (Newark Public Schools, October 8, 2017)