Last week the Camden School Board inexplicably rejected all four applications for several new schools authorized through the Urban Hope Act. (See my coverage at WHYY Newsworks, for instance, here and here.) The best application came from Ryan Hill's TEAM Charter Schools in Newark, modeled on KIPP, which far outperform traditional district schools. NJ Spotlight has great coverage of TEAM's (stalled/dead) plans for Camden.
Rumor had it that the Camden Board would "re-vote" this past week. Maybe not. From the Courier-Post:
The business administrator who puts together the Board of Education’s meeting agendas said reconsideration of a controversial Hope Act school application by an alliance of two foundations and the KIPP charter chain will take place Monday evening.
Celeste Ricketts said so before Tuesday’s board meeting.
An hour later, acting board president Martha Wilson said there was no plan for a new vote. [Business Administrator] Ricketts made a contorted face as Wilson spoke.
The Philadelphia Inquirer considers the plight of the three mothers in Camden who have petitioned the State Board of Education for access for their young children to the promised “thorough and efficient education system promised in the State Constitution, with the additional context of the Camden Board's rejection of new options. David Sciarra, Executive Director of Education Law Center, which litigates the Abbott cases, says it’s “premature” to give up on traditional schools.
Sciarra may be right, but you can't blame Sandra Vargas, Maria Roldan, and Gricelda Ruiz if they decide their children have waited long enough. Days could turn into months, and months into years while parents wait for renaissance schools to be approved and built, for bad teachers to be identified and fired, and for administrators to stop school violence
The mothers want New Jersey to follow the court orders issued to it 32 years ago in the Abbott case - give every child a viable education. That state Supreme Court ruling was about how education tax dollars would be divided. It's clear now that more money alone isn't the answer. But figuring out the rest can't take years. Each day, the long list of victims of bad schools grows.