NJEA attorneys today filed a motion imploring State Education Commissioner David Hespe to rescind his approval of the corporate takeover of four public schools in Camden and reopening them this fall as Renaissance Schools.
NJEA believes that the closures of Bonsall Elementary School, Molina Elementary School, McGraw Elementary School, and East Camden Middle School violate the Urban Hope Act and the state’s No Child Left Behind Act waiver. Under the Urban Hope Act, Renaissance Schools may only open in newly constructed buildings or substantially renovated facilities.In filing that motion, NJEA leaders -- along with Save Our Schools-NJ and Education Law Center, which have filed their own complaints -- take the unethical, child-unfriendly position that Camden’s worst schools – Henry L. Bonsall Elementary School, East Camden Middle School, Francis X. McGraw Elementary School, Rafael Cordero Molino Elementary School, and J.G. Whittier Family School – should continue to operate "as is" despite decades of academic failure. N.J.'s Urban Hope Act permits Camden, Trenton, and Newark (only Camden has taken this opportunity) to convert some of their worst-performing schools to renaissance turnaround schools, hybrids of districts and charters, contingent upon approval by local school boards.. They accept all children in the neighborhood, although families can choose to have their children attend instead a nearby traditional district school. (For more on the differences between regular charters and renaissance charters, see here.)
The final version of the cards reflects what information the community values most in their schools: great teaching, academic rigor, and a strong foundation for success in career or college. Through school visit and School Community Survey results, the cards include up-to-date information on student achievement, school environment, and parent satisfaction. The cards also include demographic, enrollment, and contact information. Great schools are the result of many factors coming together—not one silver bullet—so the School Information Cards include a variety of figures about each school.So let’s look at Bonsall Elementary School's School Information Card (page 10 of the English version) which will become Uncommon Camden Prep for all K-4th graders who currently attend Bonsall (page 5) as long as NJEA doesn't get its way. The School Information Cards place Camden schools into one of four categories: On Track, Making Progress, Needs Improvement, and Under Performing. Bonsall is in the last category. From the Card:
Labels: camden, charter schools, NJEA, PARCC, pensions, school choice