Camden City's Board of Education will meet at 5:30 today in public session for local residents to hear the latest news and share their views. They will be joined at H.B. Wilson School by a yet-to-determined group of non-residents representing the anti-reform group South Jersey Communities United, a branch of the union-backed group New Jersey Communities United. NJCU is known as primary anti-charter proponents in Newark who insist that alternative public schools "break public education" and "doom our young people to dismal futures."
(NJCU might want to read U.S. Senator Cory Booker's commentary in the hot-off-the-press publication "Better Options, Better Futures" and note the accolades from parents and students.)
As Camden parents, students, residents, and board members gather right now, South Jersey Communities United is transporting non-Camden residents to the meeting in order to, according to the group's Facebook page, "protect public education."
And no worries if outsiders are scared of Camden's gritty streets. From Facebook:
We will have two caravan sites to go to the meeting.
This particular infusion of non-Camden residents is overtly political, a warm-up for a larger event (six buses this time!) on Saturday called the South Jersey Unification Forum, which will feature speakers Alex Law and Moneke Ragsdale. Both, by the way, are running for office. Law is a twenty-four year-old white man (not that there's anything wrong with that) who grew up in Collingswood and is challenging Donald Norcross for U.S. Congress. Ragsdale is a Save Our Schools-NJ member who is running for Camden County Freeholder.
First caravan site is the Friendly's on Rt 70 West
In Cherry Hill NJ
Ask for Lori
(She will have a Save Camden Schools tee shirt and SJ United pins.)
Second caravan site is
Yorkship Family School
1251 Collings Road
Ask for Nancy
(She will be in a Save Camden Schools tee shirt with SJ United pins.)
The caravans are designed to ensure safety into and out of the city.
In other words, these events have nothing to do with what Camden parents want for their children. If they were, SJCU organizers might take note of the increase in high school graduation rates, which shot up from 51% in 2012 to 62% in 2014. Or the increased student safety. Or the many new community partnerships. Or Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard's announcement today of a host of new summer learning opportunities for more than 1,000 Camden students.
Most likely Lori and Nancy don't have any buttons for that.