Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative Education Reform Failure Newark

Newark: Students Fall Behind During Pandemic in “Reform” Hotspot

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Chalkbeat recently wrote about the dismal test scores posted recently by students in Newark, which attempts to show the effects of losing a year of school.

Just 9% of students in grades 2-8 met state expectations in math based on the results of end-of-year tests taken this spring, according to Newark Public Schools data Chalkbeat obtained through a public records request. Only 11% of students met expectations in reading.

Most certainly, students in Newark suffered by not being in school during the past year, as did students in many districts and states where schools closed. As the article notes, there is some uncertainty about the validity of the scores, since the academic performance of Newark students was not compared on the same tests. But, however you see it, the scores reflect a troubled society and district.

First, the results might underestimate the pandemic’s academic impact because some of the most disadvantaged students are likely to have missed the tests. Also, there is no way to compare Newark students’ growth last school year to prior years because they did not previously take the MAP tests. Instead, their performance must be measured against national averages from before the pandemic.

For those reasons, the data does not show whether Newark did any better or worse than other districts in navigating the pandemic, [Martin] West said. What’s clear is that Newark students dealt with more hardships than their more advantaged peers — including family illness, job losses, and housing insecurity — and were shut out of classrooms longer.

It’s hard to remember now that the Newark schools were a major focus of the “corporate reform” movement. The district was controlled by the state, which appointed the superintendent. Mark Zuckerberg contributed $100 million to the “reform” effort.

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