The city of Newark regained control of its public schools Thursday, roughly two decades after the state Department of Education seized control in 1995 citing dismal building conditions and poor student performance.
Newark’s state-controlled board of education voted in September to begin the process of returning control to the city.
“This is a commencement. It’s a graduation. This is our beginning,” Mayor of Newark Ras Baraka said. “Hopefully we’ll continue to move our district forward and make sure our young people get a first-class education that’s on par with any other in the state of New Jersey.”
In an interview last year with NPR, Baraka said regaining control of the city’s schools would give “parents the opportunity to have their democratic rights back.”
The situation at Newark’s public schools attracted national attention. In 2010, Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a $100 million donation to the school system. The donation was matched by local philanthropies for a total of $200 million.