New Research from Rubin et al.: The state takeover of the Camden City District schools and students’ academic performance

July 18, 2023

In March 2013, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced a state takeover of the Camden City School District. Under state control, state appointed superintendents assumed powers customarily held by the board of education and implemented substantial changes to the district, including closing eleven district schools, eliminating more than a thousand teaching and other positions, and shifting almost half of all district students to renaissance charter schools. We examine the changes in students’ standardized test scores before and after the state takeover and find mixed results. We also find evidence that test scores for some grades were improving several years before the state takeover and that positive gains in test scores in a few subjects/grades in the period following the state takeover were occurring across all low income schools in New Jersey, not just in Camden. We address why these findings are at odds with political leaders’ positive perceptions of the takeover.

Michael S. Hayes, Julia Sass Rubin & Pengju Zhang (2023) The state takeover of the Camden City District schools and students’ academic performance: A descriptive analysis, Journal of Urban Affairs, DOI: 10.1080/07352166.2023.2216886

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