Longtime Camden resident Barbara Coscarello, a former civil servant, head of a nonprofit community development agency, and a New Jersey School Boards Association trustee, contemplates changes in her local district as well as the leadership of Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard:
Coscarello doesn't buy the argument that the public school system in Camden is not being reformed so much as dismantled, with the traditional role of citizens superseded by corporate interests.
"The law says our students are entitled to a complete education. It doesn't say how," she says, adding, "I don't argue with the market, and the market is saying, 'We don't want [existing district schools].'
"People make choices. Talk to the parents of the charter and Renaissance schools in Camden," Coscarello says. "And if parents choose [traditional] district schools, we have to figure out a way to also get those parents involved in the education of their children."
Initially skeptical about the state's appointment of city schools superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard, Coscarello has become something of a fan. She credits Rouhanifard with being attentive and responsive to the concerns of residents and board members alike.