Republicans have a long history of giving awful legislation prettied-up names that actually do the exact opposite of what they sound like they’re about; Democrats do that too, sometimes. And today, the NJ Senate voted to push the ethically questionable and legally challenged “Urban Hope Act” a step closer to further privatize more schools in Camden. This is a legacy opportunity for George Norcross, whose allies are its chief proponents, and it opens up new horizons for profiteers who want to play with the future of Camden kids.
I got a message today from a Blue Jersey reader that I want to share with you. To be frank, the language is a little more raw and angry than our usual, but it seems to me the parents and community of Camden are being shoved around. And people whose kids are being disrespected have every right to sound like they sound, and express frustration the way it comes out. He’s not alone.
About Jose Delgado: Jose was a member of the Camden Board of Education for about 24 years. And he served years ago on the federal National Advisory Council for Bilingual Education; the state’s Educational Opportunity Fund board; member of the NJ School Boards Association, NJ Bilingual Advisory Board and many other organizations and projects. And he was a Camden parent; his daughter graduated from Woodrow Wilson HS. She’s now an RN.
From Jose Delgado:
Suffice it to say that Sweeney represents the Norcross Republi-Crat wing of the NJ Democratic Party. This is not our parents’ Democratic Party . The situation is so bad that even a political bosses’ manipulation of the legislative process is openly embraced and advanced by elected officials. A case in point are the school districts of Camden and other cities which are being destroyed by an right-wing ideological agenda lubricated by corporations interested in cashing in on public education funds.
People like Sweeney, an otherwise likeable fellow, are ambitious politicians who see these types of issue as tests they must pass in order to move to higher office. I’m sure that Sweeney knows that he needs Boss Norcross’ blessing. Governor Sweeney, what an intoxicating sounding thing to hear.
Camden’s Municipal elected officials are beholden to George and they know that they have to toe the line . . . or else. The longtime one-party rule in the city has turned them into soulless zombies that know better, but can’t stop themselves. Simultaneously, there is no unified and determined opposition due to the lack of money and fragmentation.
This debate, and the bill in question, is not really about charter schools. It is about the destruction of one of the significant pillars of our democracy – public school education. The old Democratic Party knew that the education of the young had to be in the hands of the people and not corporations. Republi-Crates have abandoned this belief and replaced it with the dubious idea that corporations should be trusted to educate our future leaders. Let’s be clear, corporations are interested in educating consumers and followers.
Several years ago the NJ DOE let us know that it intended to establish in Camden a Portfolio Management style educational system. The architects were clear that public schools would be closed and that outside entities would be placed in charge of education the City’s children. Parents and students would be consumers of services they had no control over.
The current Overseer of the Camden Schools (he doesn’t meet NJ DOE’s District Superintendent job requirements) goes around saying that charters are in fact public schools. Anyone prepared to make such a inane comparison is capable of anything. He thinks that the funding source, public funds, defines the character of a school. He overlooks that it is public control that is at the core of public education.
Remember, this is the guy that changed the district’s Human Resources Department to the Human Capital Department. Need I say more?
It is not a fluke that only urban district’s are being taken over and ripped apart. It is not happenstance that the elimination of community control of schools is only happening in predominantly minority and poor cities. I tried to ignore this fact for many months. But I can no longer ignore the elephant in the room. Can anyone imagine if this was tried in a white/middle-class or affluent community in our state? Holly hell would break out.
There was never the intention to allow the people of Newark, Camden, etc. to debate this issue. The twist is that Republi-Crates like Sweeney are willing to prevent a true democratic process by preventing community input. He is fine with taking away an elected board of education and then denying the people’s right to speak. It seems that Sweeney doesn’t consider the people of Camden to be part of that compact that begins with the phrase, “We the people . . . “. It seems that some of the people living in the ghettos of NJ are akin to aliens unworthy of his protection and love.
Sweeney is the standard bearer of the worst kind. He champions charter schools but has never been in one and is not interested in knowing too much about them. To do either of these things would make it more difficult, even for him, to champion them. He fails to understand that low test scores are a reflection of the depressing and insidious affects of generational and worsening poverty. The answer is not to blame teachers and their unions. Nor to take away public control of schools.
He, and he is not alone, just puts his head down and plows forward, steered by the tension of the reins.
The bill will pass because the people it affects don’t count.