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New Jersey News

State Takes Over Troubled Camden Schools

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Gov. Chris Christie, Mayor Dana Redd and Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf announce the state will take the lead in the school district, assume operations & bring reform and resources needed.

Gov. Chris Christie announced Monday that the state is taking over the school system in Camden.

Christie made the announcement Monday at the city's Woodrow Wilson High School. He says he'll appoint a new superintendent — a process that he notes locals will be involved with— and that the state will ensure every student has books and technology.

But Camden Mayor Dana Redd didn't use the word takeover to describe the situation.

NJ Education Commissioner Chris Cerf described the takeover as a labor of love and guided by "what's in the best interest of the children."

Three of Camden's schools are the lowest-performing in the state, and 90 percent are in the bottom 5 percent. Less than 20 percent of fourth graders are proficient in language arts literacy, and just 28 percent of 11th graders are proficient in math.

Camden will be the fourth urban school district under state control, after Paterson, Newark, and Jersey City. It's also the first takeover initiated by Christie.