|10-15-12 Three Camden parents say their children not receiving a thorough and efficient education|
Courier Post-Associated Press 10-15-12 'Camden parents file petition to switch schools'
Courier Post – Associated Press - Camden parents file petition to switch schools
2:21 PM, Oct. 15, 2012 | Written by Associated Press
TRENTON — The mothers of three Camden boys filed a legal petition Monday asking the state education commissioner to declare that the city's schools do not meet the constitutional requirement of providing children with a thorough and efficient
Backed by several groups that call for faster and more drastic fixes to Camden's troubled schools, the mothers
"What do we do with children who we know are being deprived of their fundamental right to an education?" lawyer Patricia Bombelyn asked at a news conference in the State House.
The newest filing is a novel approach in a city that has long been the prime example of a school district gone awry.
Thirty-two years ago, another Camden boy, Raymond Abbott, was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that led to an overhaul of the way New Jersey funds its public schools. Back then, the debate was largely over the inadequate funding
But by many measures, the performance
In Monday's legal filing, the plaintiffs relied on data compiled by the state Education Department.
Among them: Camden schools make up one-third of the list of the poorest-performing 5 percent of schools in the state. Less than 1 percent of the Camden students who take the SATs score high enough to be considered ready for college. Curriculum
Maria Roldan, the mother
And Sandra Vargas, the mother of another plaintiff, Keanu Vargas, a 12-year-old seventh-grader at Pyne Point Family School, said she fears that unless her son can be moved to another school, he'll fall victim to the same fate as many other Camden high school graduates: spending two years of community college taking remedial classes before getting to do college-level work.
Camden's interim school superintendent, Reuben Mills, did not immediately return a call Monday seeking comment. State Education Department spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said she needed to get more details before she could comment on the petition.
The state already allows charter schools and has a program that allows students in some cases to go to school free in other public school districts.
But advocates for bigger change say that space is limited in those programs.
Groups supporting Monday's filing include E3, or Excellent Education for Everyone, the Black Ministers' Council of New Jersey and the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey. All of them also support a bill that would use public money to pay for scholarships
Garden State Coalition of Schools