Camden, NJ - A study released this week by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University found positive effects in both math and reading in Camden schools following the state takeover of the district in 2013.
The study, authored by Beth E. Schueler of the University of Virginia and Joshua F. Bleiber of Brown University, analyzed 34 school districts across the country that were taken over by their states using a complex statistical method called regression analysis.
While the study concluded that, on average, state takeovers do not necessarily generate positive academic outcomes, it found that Camden was a positive outlier among the districts reviewed.
Camden showed significant positive impacts in both math and reading since 2013. The data ranks Camden as among the most successful state interventions in the country.
The study use third through eighth grade student proficiency scores, normed to the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) exam, to enable achievement comparisons across states.
“This Brown University study provides further evidence that our schools have seen tremendous gains since state intervention," said Camden Superintendent Katrina McCombs. "Thanks to dedicated efforts of our educators, a productive partnership with the state, and meaningful engagement with families, we have put our schools on the path to success. We will be building on this progress in the years to come.”
In addition to student proficiency gains, the Camden has made progress towards meeting the state’s criteria to measure the quality of districts. That tool — the Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC) — shows that Camden has grown in all five indicators, and the District has crossed the 80% ‘quality’ threshold in three of five: operations, personnel, and governance.
“As a District, we have been engaged in a multi-year effort to dramatically improve outcomes for our students. It is encouraging to see independent researchers validate the positive trends we have observed from our own experience,” said Minister Wasim Muhammad, president of the Camden City School District Advisory Board. “All of our students deserve an excellent education, and we will not rest until we deliver on this promise."
The Brown University study highlights that the approach of districts under state intervention varies widely across the country. In Camden, state intervention brought new school options for families in the form of renaissance schools; new curricula and professional development at district schools; and the introduction of a citywide enrollment system.
“Through sustained and committed partnership -- with the state, with educators, with parents, nonprofits, and students -- there is no doubt that Camden schools are rising," Mayor Vic Carstarphen said. "This is just the beginning for our great city and our talented students."