On Thursday, June 21st, the Assembly will vote on the Camden Renaissance School Expansion bill (A-4181). This bill and its companion in the Senate (S-2722) will bring the Camden public schools under greater control of private corporations instead of granting greater and improved accountability to the public.
“The State of New Jersey is currently dealing with some important pieces of legislation that will affect the quality and the future of public education for many years. Some of these state issues are setting troubling precedents for education nationwide,” said Madelyn Hoffman, NJ Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate in November 2018. “This bill has inspired a large coalition of diverse groups in Camden to come together in opposition to the politically-imposed corporatization of the Camden public schools. If this type of effort succeeds in Camden, we will be following in the footsteps of other urban areas that have lost their public school systems such as New Orleans. Instead of making efforts to strengthen our public schools statewide and nationally, increased privatization will cause the schools irreparable harm.”
While the original intention of the charter school model was theoretically a way to improve public schools, for profit organizations have co-opted the model as a way to divert federal and state dollars to private interests. What is happening with the charter school model looks different from state to state. But the charter model overall is problematic. We should support the NAACP call for a moratorium on charter school accountability until such measures for accountability and transparency are actually put into place.
“If A-4181 becomes law, every public school in Camden will be open to corporate management takeovers by renaissance school providers Mastery Charter School, KIPP, and UnCommon Schools,” said Gary Frazier, co-founder of Save Camden Public Schools and co-chair of the Green Party of New Jersey. “ Instead of working to improve the Camden Public Schools, passage of this bill will cede all education decision-making powers to politicians and corporate interests. We all know that corporate interests are not the same as student interests!”
Madelyn Hoffman is the New Jersey Green Party Candidate for United States Senate.