Tag Archive: Mastery

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.  

Where Will All the Boys Go?

I’m pulling this up top again today to make sure as many people as possible see it. Are Gov. Christie’s brave new world reformers even aware of this kind of research? let alone conducting it themselves with the vast power they exercise over the Camden district and its kids? Do they even care? Promoted by Rosi, with thanks to Julia, and to her Rutgers colleague Stephen Danley, at whose excellent site, Local Knowledge Blog, Julia first published this today.

Imagine turning your public schools over to a private corporation that is unaccountable to your community; has no experience educating children like those attending your public schools; and forces most of the boys to leave before graduation?

That is exactly what the Christie Administration is doing in Camden.

The Administration is transferring control of public education to three out-of-state charter corporations – KIPP, Mastery and Uncommon Schools – that are completely unaccountable to the people of Camden.  The corporations will take hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars from existing Camden public and charter schools to build or renovate and operate 16 new renaissance charter schools.*

The three charter corporations are aggressively marketing themselves and their new facilities to Camden parents and could quickly account for 9,300 of the district’s almost 15,000 publicly-funded spots, leading to the closure of the majority of Camden’s public and charter schools.