But here's an amazing coincidence: the report just happened to be released on the same day the Camden school board reversed its previous vote and let a previously failed charter operator come back into the city:
So the vote just happened to come on the night of the release of a smiley-faced charter report. And it just happened to be behind closed doors. And it just happened to override the previous vote to reject the KIPP application.It was the second time the board had voted on the plan, which previously fell a vote short. In a meeting held predominantly behind closed doors Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the board reconsidered and approved the plan with just one dissenting vote.But theleft open some uncertainties. The board still has to sign off on specifics of the proposal, which calls for five schools to be build by the partnership and run by KIPP over the next decade.The closed session was to negotiate the contract that will include those details, so it was allowed under the state’s Open Public Meetings Act, officials said.
Well, isn't that convenient?
Can we at least show enough respect for the intelligence of the citizens of Camden - and, indeed, the entire state - to leave aside the Kabuki and just admit the fix was in long ago?
The people of Camden were promised a public school at Lanning Square. Instead, they will get a private charter school, publicly funded, that does not have to serve all of the children in the surrounding neighborhood, is run by a management organization with a history of high student attrition - particularly for black males - and will not have to answer to the people of the city of Camden, but only to the NJDOE Commissioner.Camden is the only of the three to take up the idea so far, requesting proposals and ultimately picking the Cooper/KIPP proposal out of a total of five submitted. The proposal had been by far the highest profile of the bids, with the backing of George Norcross, the Cooper chairman and powerful Democratic Party leader in South Jersey.But the state approval is just one step, as the parties also still need to negotiate the purchase of the property next to Cooper’s healthcare campus in Lanning Square from both the state and the local district.The property is owned jointly by the district and the state’s Schools Development Authority, which had been slated to build a district school on the site until plans were stalled and the KIPP plan emerged.
Again, KIPP already failed in Camden. Doesn't matter, though: a powerful white man wants them there, so that's where they go. The only thing that could possibly stop them is the will of the people who actually live in the city:
God bless people like Moneke Ragsdale: they are true patriots. They are also the last, best hope for the children of Camden KIPP admits it will inevitably leave behind. They are the antidote to paternalistic meddling:But community activists against the proposal from the start said their battle was not over, saying there were a number of areas open for potential challenge.Moneke Ragsdale, a Camden parent-activist, said the meeting itself was curious, with no agenda released and the meeting going into closed session away from the public before several board members came back and appeared to switch their votes.“It was a mess,” she said. “Nobody got a direct answer. It looks like they came to do what they wanted to do.”“We’re going to put our heads together to see what we do next,” she said.
Back at Science High, even the Facebook gift was regarded with suspicion.It's becoming a theme around here, don't you think?
“The foundations are interfering with public education and dividing our community,” says Cassandra Dock, a local resident. “Leave us alone. We don’t want white people coming in here and doing what they do — taking over. Destroy and leave.” [emphasis mine]