New Newsworks column: Can Camden’s Renaissance Schools Challenge Anti-Charter Rhetoric?

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It starts here:

There’s been lots of chatter during the last few months from those who resent the expansion of school choice in Camden. For example, Diane Ravitch, titled her post on Monday “Privatization of Camden N.J. Public Schools Accelerates.”  The triumvirate of NJEA, Save Our Schools-NJ, and Education Law Center has railed against the establishment of district/charter hybrids in Camden under the aegis of a 2012 law called the Urban Hope Act. (NJEA originally supported the bill but pulled back when an amendment left out hefty pension bonuses for Camden teachers.) 

These charter/district hybrids, called “renaissance schools,” inscribed in the Urban Hope Act offer a great opportunity to examine the impact of educational options for poor families.  (Rich families already have lots of options.) We have decades of data quantifying the academic growth of Camden students within the traditional public school district. What happens when those students are offered other public choices and the customary anti-charter imprecations — charters “cream off” top-performing students, charters discriminate against students with disabilities or those new to the English language — don’t apply?

Read the rest here.

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