Happening Today: Education Week Leadership Symposium. Learn more and register.

N.J. Taking Over Camden School District

By Jaclyn Zubrzycki — April 02, 2013 1 min read

The beleaguered 13,700- student Camden, N.J., school district will be put under state control, becoming the fourth district in New Jersey to be taken over by the state and the first by Gov. Chris Christie.

The state will have both academic and financial control of the district, whose schools are some of the lowest-performing in the Garden State: The academic records of 90 percent of Camden’s schools place them in the bottom 5 percent of schools statewide.

The legislature passed a law in 1988 permitting state takeovers of school systems deemed unable to provide a “thorough and efficient” education. The state will be responsible for selecting a new superintendent and leadership team for the district, and the Camden school board will be relegated to an advisory role.

Camden had been given eight months to turn around last year, and those eight months expired this month.

The state government is already a presence in the district: A state-run “regional achievement center” oversees some particularly low-performing schools, and a monitor oversees some spending decisions.

Christopher Cerf, the state commissioner of education, said that there was no plan to dismantle the current district board, as happened in other state takeovers in New Jersey.

Gov. Christie, a Republican, is up for re-election in the fall. And while some Democrats in the legislature and Dana Redd, the mayor of Camden, supported the move, other prominent players, including the New Jersey Education Association, say that the state’s record on takeovers is questionable, and that Gov. Christie has thrown his support to charter schools rather than appropriately funding the district’s schools.

The Jersey City system was taken over in 1989 because of poor academic performance and remained under state control for more than a decade. Paterson, which was taken over in 1991, and Newark, taken over in 1994, still have state-appointed boards, and academic performance in those districts remains low.

The local school board in Newark initiated a lawsuit in 2011 aimed at regaining autonomy from the state.

A version of this article appeared in the April 03, 2013 edition of Education Week as N.J. Sets Takeover Of Camden System


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Accountability Biden Education Team Squashes States' Push to Nix All Tests but Approves Other Flexibility
The department has telegraphed its decision to deny states' requests to cancel federally mandated tests for weeks.
3 min read
A first-grader learns keyboarding skills at Bayview Elementary School in San Pablo, Calif on March 12, 2015. Schools around the country are teaching students as young as 6 years old, basic typing and other keyboarding skills. The Common Core education standards adopted by a majority of states call for students to be able to use technology to research, write and give oral presentations, but the imperative for educators arrived with the introduction of standardized tests that are taken on computers instead of with paper and pencils.
The U.S. Department of Education denied some states' requests to cancel standardized tests this year. Others are seeking flexibility from some testing requirements, rather than skipping the assessments altogether.
Eric Risberg/AP
Accountability Explainer Will There Be Standardized Tests This Year? 8 Questions Answered
Educators want to know: Will the exams happen? If so, what will they look like, and how will the results be used?
12 min read
Students testing.
Accountability Opinion What Should School Accountability Look Like in a Time of COVID-19?
Remote learning is not like in person, and after nine months of it, data are revealing how harmful COVID-19 has been to children's learning.
6 min read
Image shows a speech bubble divided into 4 overlapping, connecting parts.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty and Laura Baker/Education Week
Accountability State Schools Chiefs Push Biden for Wiggle Room on Accountability During Pandemic
State schools chiefs say it's necessary to change how they use scores from mandated annual tests during the unprecedented disruption created by the coronavirus pandemic.
4 min read
Image of students taking a test.