Hundreds rally in Trenton against school aid cuts and charter schools
Jitu Brown–Sabotaging public schools to help charters is “evil.”
More than 500 teachers, parents, public officials, and community activists rallied in front of the Statehouse in Trenton Sunday–and listened to blistering attacks on the failure of New Jersey’s leaders to fund public education and prevent the draining of public funds from traditional schools by privately-operated charter schools.
The denunciations of the Christie administration and legislators of both parties who support his school policies often became heated–and the angriest attacks drew the loudest cheers.
“We know how to create successful schools,” said Jitu Brown, a Chicago community organizer who has spoken frequently in New Jersey. “They just don’t want to do it for black and brown children.”
Denouncing the “illusion of school choice,” he accused Christie and other supporters of charter schools of “deliberately sabotaging” public schools so they would fail and then replacing them with privatized charter schools.
“The return on our investment has been the sabotaging of the education of our children,” said Brown, who led a hunger strike in Chicago in support of traditional neighborhood schools. “What could be more evil than that?”
He said such policies proved that, “White people in America…have never been able to reconcile their hatred of black people.”
A delegation of speakers from the Camden schools–where Christie and Democratic political boss George Norcross have promoted extensive use of charter schools to replace traditional public schools–also denounced charters. So did the leadership of a police union in Trenton.
The rally, initially organized by leaders of the Trenton Education Association (TEA), demonstrated widespread community opposition to the spread of charter schools and other reforms, including use of Teach for America (TFA) graduates who have replaced veteran teachers in many urban districts, including Camden.