After years of battles between state and local leaders, the New Jersey Board of Education voted to allow Newark to resume control of the city’s school district, recognizing an improvement in the schools’ performance, management and budget. Noliwe Rooks, associate professor of Africana Studies at Cornell University, is author of “Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education” a book that traces the financing of education in America from the civil war to today. Rooks says that the decision to return local control to Newark Public Schools presents an opportunity to create a quality education for the community.
“It is wonderful news that the Newark Public Schools may soon return to a more democratic form of governance where parents, children and students will have the opportunity to participate in the shape of the curriculum and instruction in their schools.
“Local control of schools may not be any more of a silver bullet leading to educational opportunity and equity than was state control, but it is certainly a welcome step in the right direction toward the residents in Newark being able to fully participate in their own futures.
“I believe that we need much more of a nationwide discussion about state and local communities organizing to argue for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a quality education, but such an effort cannot possibly take place without such communities having access to more, not less democracy.”