UPDATE: Here’s audio for the show. There was some great questions and comments on twitter as well, I’ll try to do a recap for that tomorrow: 

Radio Times on WHYY is running an hour long show today (August 12th) from 10am-11am Called “The State of Public Schools in Camden Part II.”

Here’s the blurb from the Radio Times website:

Last month, Marty sat down with Camden City School District Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard to discuss the state of Camden’s public school system. Today we hear from three different voices on the same issue. Our guests are DAVID SCIARRA, Executive Director of the Education Law Center, STEPHEN DANLEY, Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Administration at Rutgers University-Camden, and CARMEN CRESPO, a parent activist and organizer for Save Our Schools New Jersey. In this hour of Radio Times, they’ll discuss their vision for the city’s public schools, the plans to add more charter schools to the district, state intervention in Camden, and more.

I’m honored to be a guest, and excited to get the chance to discuss Camden and education with David, Carmen and Marty. As I mentioned when WHYY did “The State of Camden Schools Part I” it would be wonderful to have some local readers call in or ask questions on twitter. Last time twitter was an absolutely fantastic resource as many fact-checked the show while it was still on the air.

You can listen live at 91.1fm in South Jersey and 90.9fm in Central Jersey on your radio sets, and at this link online.

The number to call in is: 1-888-477-9499. You can also send in questions via twitter: @whyyradiotimes

I’ll post the full audio here as soon as it is up on the WHYY website. I hope to hear your voices on it!

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  • Over the past 15 years charter schools have failed in their promise to provide consistent quality education within the City of Camden. Camden’s problem of ensuring good education is not an instructional one. There are outstanding teachers who don’t mind coming to this city to educate our kids despite being beaten up daily by the state and the media. Camden’s problems are based on a systemic failure to provide citizens with hope and options to overcome poverty, among other hardships. Politicians have failed Camden and they have pointed the finger at public schools and teachers. They have also conveniently ignored good public schools within the city, like Sharp School. This school should have been the model of how to succeed in this city yet the state ran district has chosen to undermine everything that is good in that school. I believe that over 15 excellent staff members were fired. It’s a shame. A good school with a consistent history of success and its children are just screwed over.

  • Your observations are right on. I’ve been sounding the alarm for over a year and it is only now that people are waking up to the real possibility that the public schools will be a thing of the past real soon. In fact, a few years ago the Courier-Post leaked a NJ DOE power point that laid out the State’s plan to privatize the Camden Public School District. The state announced what they intended to do about two years ago. So, this should not be a surprise to anyone. It is so frustrating to see people get upset about something that they were warned about months and months ago.
    I always try to down play the role that race places in social policy and governmental action. But in this case I don’t think that it is a coincidence that this is happening in a very, very poor and overwhelmingly black/Hispanic city. This could never be done to a non-minority city. Can you imagine this playing out in anywhere else?
    I don’t understand how and why people don’t understand, or can’t accept, that low test scores and graduation rates are symptoms are more related to poverty and its related associates, than to what is or is not happening in a classroom, school or district. Test scores are not the issue and should thus not drive the agenda or discussion.
    This whole thing reminds me of that Vietnam War comment, “We had to destroy the village to save it.”

  • The superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard has been sent to Camden to dismantle public education not to try to fix things. His actions have spoken louder than his words. He has surrounded himself with a cadre of people on his staff that if one were to look at their resumes on Linked In one would notice that none of them have more that 2 years experience in anything anywhere. This state take over looks and feels more like a corporate take over. Mark my words, public schools in Camden will be a thing of the past if the people of New Jersey don’t take heed or action. Public education is a cornerstone of democracy and through the public school system democracy is learned and perpetuated. With the dismantling of public schools democracy itself is in danger. Camden has seen how the democratic process has already been removed from pubic schools. There is no board consisting of elected members. They are all appointed by the state and the mayor who acquiesces to Christie and his South Jersey Democrat friends. The former board of ed is now an “advisory board” that essentially gives Paymon Rouhanifard free reign to implement directives from the governor. This is not about the children of Camden. This is about enabling a few powerful people to have access the purse strings of public funds.

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