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Newark Pushes for a Common Application for Charter Enrollment

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The Newark, N.J., schools could be the next in a string of city districts to revamp the admissions process to charters by allowing families to fill out a common application instead of navigating dozens of different applications and deadlines, reports the Newark Patch.

Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson announced the initiative, which is aimed at closing the rift between charter and regular public schools in the city, she said. The plan, called One Newark, would allow families to fill out one application to apply to their school of choice—charter or regular—listed in order of preference.

Similar efforts have been adopted in cities like the District of Columbia, which implemented the common application for the first time this year; Denver, which rolled out its SchoolChoice initiative standardizing school applications and deadlines at the end of 2011; and New Orleans, which debuted its OneApp initiative in February 2012.

Not all charters are happy with the change, and some of them have chosen not to participate in the common application, but for many families, having a standardized application and deadline has greatly improved the simplicity of registering their children for charters.

In Newark, Superintendent Anderson hopes to implement the new initiative and phase out lottery-based admissions to charters and help equalize the distribution of high- and low-achieving students, preventing them from being concentrated in any one school, she said in a speech on Thursday.

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