Tag Archive: competition

Massive Norcross Hypocrisy: Competition Is Good For Schools, But Bad For Me

Jersey Jazzman posted this at his own excellent site just before the weekend. Yesterday, Camden parents protested the undemocratic privatization of their schools as personified by George Norcross. I thought this post was in order – Rosi

Sometimes I wonder why my head doesn’t just explode:

With 300 people filling a shiny new auditorium for speeches and cheers, the ribbon-cutting held yesterday at the new KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy in Camden at times seemed as much a precursor of the city’s educational future as it was a celebration of the opening of a school.

The event marked the opening of the first new “renaissance school” built under the Urban Hope Act of 2012 that brought the hybrid charter schools to New Jersey and, specifically, Camden.

The speakers were familiar names in Camden circles: Mayor Dana Redd; U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, who authored the Urban Hope Act when he was a state senator; and Susan Bass Levin, president and CEO of Cooper Foundation.

Sitting in the front row was George Norcross III, chairman of Cooper University Health Care and the chief driver of the school’s rise from a vacant lot next to the hospital. [emphasis mine]

Because it’s now standard operating procedure in America to throw everything down the memory hole, a little history is in order:

The vacant lot that this KIPP school sits on today was supposed to be for a public district school. The state promised that it would build the school to serve all of the students in the Lanning Square area. And as the city school board waited for the state to fulfill its promises, it rebuffed an effort to bring KIPP into Camden, perhaps motivated by the fact that KIPP had already tried and failed in the city years before.  

School Reform: Baseball Bats to Bad Data

Cross-posted at A New Jersey Farmer.

Remember when Joe Clark was the face of educational reform? The former Principal of Eastside High School in Paterson, NJ patrolled the hallways of his out-of-control institution in the 1980s with only a bullhorn and a baseball bat, fighting poverty, gangs, crime and under-performing students as the face of urban education. His tactics were crude and anti-education, but the fact that he was a hero to many spoke volumes about the way in which people saw the problems in our schools.

Today, the people with the bullhorns and the weapons are politicians and business owners who believe that the best way to cure the ills of public schools that have educated the freest, most productive people who’ve ever lived on this planet, is to make our schools just like the entities that led the way towards job outsourcing, unconscionable home loan processes, and a laser-like focus on stock prices that have almost bankrupted the economy.

Joe Clark’s sounding mighty effective right now.