Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Can the Camden School Board Find its Inner Education Advocate?

Board President Kathryn Blackshear said Monday she hopes a vote on the Norcross proposal will take place, though she said that remains hard to predict “with this board.”
That's from the Courier-Post  regarding the meeting tonight of the Camden School Board. The potential re-vote regards four proposals (one from Norcross and KIPP), authorized through the Urban Hope Act. A "yes" from the Board would allow the building and operation of up to four new charters intended to augment Camden's bleak school system.  Last month the Board rejected all four proposals.  The final tally, after a six-hour private session, was 4-4 with one abstention.  (Here's my coverage here and here.)

Camden Public Schools released a forthright Needs Assessment  this past August, which summed up Board dynamics this way:
     The Camden City Board of Education and administrative leadership in Camden face a number of formidable governance challenges. At the core of these challenges is a deep lack of trust and respect among board members and, more significantly, between the board and the administration. This problem has been ongoing for so long that no one seems to recall how it began. Whatever the cause, the result is that over time the board has grown extremely suspicious of the administration and does not trust the administration to keep it well informed. 

    In response, the board at times has resorted to subverting the chain of command and otherwise publicly undermining the administration. This approach has proven ineffective in holding the administration accountable and has prevented the board from accomplishing meaningful change. Instead, the Board has become mired in the day-to-day operations of the district at the expense of developing strategies to address systemic challenges and to hold administrators accountable for results.

No comments: