Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Jersey Governor Announces Camden Takeover

USA Today (3/25, Dunn) reports that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced on Monday that the state is taking over the troubled school district in Camden, which "has the second-lowest graduation rate in the state, a declining enrollment and high poverty." The piece quotes him saying, "I don't want anything worse for the children of this city or any other city in the state of New Jersey than I would want for my own children." USA Today adds, "Under a state-run system, the local school board will have an advisory role, and the state will choose a new school superintendent. The process could be in place in six to eight weeks." The piece notes that Camden would become the fourth district to be taken over by the state.

The Philadelphia Inquirer (3/26, Katz) reports that Christie "formally announced this morning that he is taking reigns of the Camden school district, but he offered few details about how and when students, teachers and parents would see changes in what he considers the lowest-performing district in the state. Instead, a soft-spoken Christie spoke of the need for saving children in America's poorest and most dangerous city through a 'partnership.'" Noting that he never used the word "takeover," the Inquirer quotes Christie saying, "We're acting because inaction is immoral. Let's treat all these children – and make all these decisions – as if they're our own children."
Describing Camden as "a district in which 90 percent of the schools are among the bottom 5 percent in performance statewide," the AP (3/25, Zezima) reports, "Once the state's takeover plan has been approved, the governor said he would appoint a new superintendent. A search is already under way, and the state plans to work within that system." CNN (3/25, Ly) also covers this story.

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