as Camden parents confront them
PHOTO: April Saul, Camden, NJ: A Spirit Invincible (on Facebook)
Inside, a $35 ticket conference hosted by the New Jersey “School Choice” Education Reform Alliance (quote marks, mine). Inside, the man who’s made Camden his philanthropic playground, opened opportunities there for business friends to score, and put his name on a few some buildings – George Norcross, who also runs quite a few NJ Democrats. By him, a key beneficiary, Senate President Steve Sweeney, the Norcross operation’s presumptive pick for governor. Also there, NJ Education Commissioner David Hespe, appointed by Gov. Christie to grease the way for privatization targeting NJ’s minority-majority cities.
Outside, about 50 fed up Camden parents, who say they represent many more who aren’t available in the middle of a work day to crash a big wheelers’ get-together.
These are Camden parents who are are tired of people who don’t live in Camden calling the shots about how their kids are schooled and excluding their input. They object to the way their children are turned into commodities for the privatizers of education. Camden’s only under state control two years and they already see the need to shake it off. And they want Christie-appointed Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard gone.
Newark’s had 20 years of state control. Only after voters vaulted a public ed activist – Ras Baraka – into the mayor’s office over the pro-charter candidate backed by Sweeney and Norcross, and after years of parents and students directly confronting Christie-appointed super Cami Anderson, did Newark’s picture even begin to change. Among protesters today were Newark school board member Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson and NJEA officers Marie Blistan and Sean Spiller. Camden is organizing.
About April Saul: I found the photo above on Saul’s Facebook page, called Camden, NJ: A Spirit Invincible. Saul is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist specializing in documentary photojournalism. She has a deep body of work at the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she is on leave on a Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship to document life in the city of Camden. More on April Saul and her work here and here.
Note: In an earlier version, Sen. Tom Kean was misidentified as Rep. Don Norcross. Corrected, and that will teach me to post from my phone, looking at tiny photos at 12:15 in the morning. – REE