Newark schools superintendent say district will continue controversial school reform strategy

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NEWARK, New Jersey — The head of New Jersey's largest school system says the district will continue with its controversial reform strategy. ( reports that Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson made the announcement Tuesday morning.

Anderson said the district plans to expand some of the changes made under "One Newark," a reorganization plan that involves expanding charter schools, relocating some schools and changing school leadership.

"While we have certainly faced our challenges (in implementing the plan), we are not going to stop," Anderson said. "100 excellent schools (in Newark). Every single kid. This is our passion. This is our mission."

The district also plans to include private pre-kindergarten providers in its universal enrollment system, a new process the district uses in which parents rank their top choice schools and enter a lottery to be placed in one of them. Officials also expect to expand transportation options for students traveling to schools farther away from home, as well as the district's adult education offerings.

Anderson also said the district wants to make the student experience at existing charter and public schools more uniform. Specifically, she hopes to make discipline standards at both public and charter schools the same.

"We're also going to steer into some of the more difficult issues with charters like student retention," she said. "You don't (want to) have different schools playing by different rules."

Critics have called for the "One Newark" plan to be scrapped, citing problems with transportation issues, class scheduling problems and a lack of teachers. They also have challenged its enrollment process.

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