THE NEWARK PROJECT
The Newark Project is an upcoming feature length documentary chronicling fives years in Newark, New Jersey during one of the nation’s most turbulent efforts to reform public education. We experience close up how education reform efforts play out (in a school system that had been run by the state for more than two decades) not on the op-ed pages, but in real life. It tells the story of a local community – much of it underserved and made up of people of color – that refused to accept an education reform plan forced on them by outside reformers and instead asserted its democratic right to insist on a return to local control.
Although focused on Newark, the film’s urgent themes are not confined by geography. The story of Newark sheds light on struggles for education equity underway in Detroit, Chicago, and other cities across the country. The Newark Project reminds us of the risks of compromising democracy in the name of education reform; it shows how education reform that excludes local perspective and control can make things worse, not better, especially for the citizens it affects.