A Brief History of Newark Public Schools


The Newark Public School District encompasses the entire city of Newark in Essex County, New Jersey and is the largest school system in New Jersey. It is also sadly the lowest-performing in the state, even after the state government took over management of the city’s schools in 1995. The three goals set by Newark public Schools are: Excellence, Efficiency and Equity:

  • Excellence: all students deserve that gives them an opportunity for college and a good career.
  • Efficiency: All money should be invested in staff and programs for the purpose of making a positive difference for the students.
  • Equity: Every student should be able to access an excellent school no matter the circumstances.

The district is apart of the 31 former Abbott districts statewide, which are now called “SDA Districts” (Schools Development Authority Districts). This is based on the requirement that the state cover all costs for school buildings and renovation projects under the supervision of the NJ Schools Development Authority. There are around 80 schools in the district, with an enrollment of over 35,500 students.

The Newark Public School District is classified by the New Jersey Department of Education as belonging in the District Factor Group “A,” which is the lower of the eight groupings. These District Factor Groups are organized statewide to compare the common socioeconomic characteristics of the districts. From lowest to highest, the socioeconomic categories are A, B, CD, DE, FG, GH, I and J. The Newark district is also one of the three districts in NJ, including Jersey City and Paterson public schools, under “state intervention.” This gives the state Commissioner of Education the power to intervene in the running of the local school district.



Kennedy, J. W. Newark in the public schools of Newark A course of study on Newark, its geography, civics and history, with biographical sketches and a reference index. Newark: Newark, N.J., Pub. by the Board of education, 1911.