Don’t let the fact that the camera shakes convince you that Camden parents aren’t organizing, aren’t ready to take on the Christie administration, his hand-picked Super, the Norcross operation, and charter schools for profit. These parents are resolute. They demand local control. They want an elected school board, just like in any other town. And school’s in session soon.
The community fight against the corporate takeover of public education is always an uphill climb, because there’s money to be made and kids to be transformed into products. Up in Newark, though it’s still complicated, there’s some progress and a mayor who got himself elected with parents as allies. Down in Camden, it’s a struggle. An unelected power broker pulls everybody’s strings, and likes to have his name associated with such altruistic-sounding concepts as “renaissance.” But a core group of Camden parents are tired of their community being cut out of their kids’ future. This was yesterday, as they peacefully confronted Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard outside his office; they later spoke up at a district meeting. I hope to see more focused opposition – and maybe even legal challenges – against Christie’s control, against the Democratic machine that controls Camden. With thanks to NJ Communities United.