Christie Promotes Camden Promise Initiative During Visit


Brenda Flanagan

Gov. Chris Christie chatted up first graders, and shook hands with Jr. ROTC cadets as he barnstormed through the city promoting his “Camden Promise Initiative” — a consortium of more than 15 different agencies now in partnership with the state.

“This partnership is creating a comprehensive continuum of services designed to help prepare young people in Camden to succeed – from cradle to college and a career,” said Christie.

Flanked by Camden’s mayor, schools superintendent, police chief and other officials — Christie described a program that would expand and coordinate services for students and families. A Neighborhood Family Success Center with tutoring for kids and support for parents; Baby’s Best Start, with social outreach to get newborns off to a healthy start; Born to Read, with help for kids to read at grade level and a Virtual Grocery store, that will let families go online and order healthy food from ShopRite.

“We all know that we have challenges here – as every community has challenges. But these are challenges that we’re beginning to confront and to correct – and to be able to once again to provide real potential for confidence and hope in the future of this city,” said Christie.

Christie staunchly backed his hand-picked superintendent’s decision to downsize the school district’s payroll — despite student protests against any teacher layoffs.

“You have to “right-size” the district of Camden. And we simply have too many personnel for the number of students that we have. Secondly I would love to be able to do reductions of force differently but the teachers’ union prevents us from doing so,” said Christie.

Some students here quietly disagreed.

“I think the teachers should stay – cause there’s are a lot of people that grow great bonds with the teachers,” said Karim McLaren.

Down the street, meanwhile, a noisier handful of protesters shouted criticisms of both Christie and the school superintendent, parents calling it nothing but politics — and demanding full state funding for public schools.

“What we’re saying today is – Gov. Christie has to go. He’s a bully in the state of NJ and we are tired of it,” said Ronsha Dickerson.

“There’s no communication between what’s going on with them, and what’s happening with us. I’m a parent of a child who has a learning disability and up until two months ago, I had no idea what as going on in our district,” said Elizabeth Ortiz.

To underscore his commitment to Camden, Christie spent much of his day visiting schools here. The mayor calls Camden his “second home.” But critics say it’s all a show, nothing but smoke and mirrors.

  • sarah therese thomas

    G-d have mercy, amen. Learn the laws given to MOSES for the non Jewish people by God at Mt. Sinai, with the detail, known as oral Torah, Torah and oral Torah is Hashems word. Learn from orthodox rabbis in Judaism at http://www.asknoah.org

  • Rev Edward D Torres

    The State of New Jersey created the problems in the education system in Camden. Every one knows the conduits to a good education is a first clean and safe environment at the School House and small class room sizes. The Abbott vs Burke on behalf of the Camden Students won a total settlement of 6 Billion Dollars and Camden, Newark, and Trenton Students part was 430 Million Dollars for each district. The money came in and was deposited in the Camden School District Account in 1999. The Camden Community planned for a year on the building of 9 New Schools and repair every School in the District. Then NJ Senator Wayne Bryant under the direction of the Democrat Party Boss George Norcross III orchestrated the State Takeover of the Camden School District in 2001. They had the Superintendent Knox falsify a dropout rate of 70% after a decade of a steady 30% to cause the NJ Legisture to support a takeover never done by any State in the country. The State came with a promise to help expedite School Construction and had the Camden School Distict transfer the 430 Million to a newly created Private Company called the School Construction Corporation. Camden School District order Architectural Designs for the replacement of Lanning Square Elementary and a New Creative Arts High School and the State delayed and delayed for 2 years. The Community of Camden,Trenton, and Newark the all colored communities were told their money mysteriously disappeared in a bankruptcy proceedings of the School Construction Corporation.

    The State continued the hold around the necks of the colored Communities by suspending School Board Elections of School Board Members to assure they would not sue for the reparations of the Students money. Still Today Gov Christie implemented another takeover with asking a referendum question if the people wanted to relinquish the power to self govern. He thwarted the Superintendent selection process after the School District did a 6 month search and introduced the candidates to the community. He gave Camden a person not even qualified to hold a post of Superintendent. God Help Us find justice in Camden. No Justice no Peace for the Governor http://www.change.org/petitions/government-body-obtain-the-resignation-of-gov-christie-or-sponsor-the-application-to-circulate-a-recall-petition

  • Rev Edward D Torres