Camden gets opportunity for ‘renaissance schools’

Gov. Chris Christie visited a school in Camden yesterday to sign legislation aimed at giving students in some of New Jersey’s failing schools new educational opportunities.

Dozens of elementary students watched as the governor signed the Urban Hope Act in the auditorium of the Lansing Square School in Camden.

Christie said the measure allows Camden, Trenton, and Newark to partner with nonprofit companies to build as many as four “renaissance schools” in each of those districts.

“The nonprofits have to have experience operating schools in low-achieving districts and commit to both building a new school and offering a rigorous academic program designed to prepare each student to be college or career ready,” Christie said.

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Each project would need approval from the state Department of Education. The new schools would be accountable for improving student performance.

Christie said he wants more action on education measures this year. He’s urging lawmakers to overhaul the teacher evaluation system and approve a program to provide vouchers for students in poor-performing schools to switch to better ones.

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