Will Camden and its schools rebound again?
Camden, NJ has faced profound economic challenges and barriers to success for its education system. Ten years ago, Camden’s schools ranked in the bottom 5 percent of the state, just 49 percent of students graduated from high school, and only 3 of the 500 seniors scored “college-ready” on the SAT. A state-mandated analysis found the system was “broken,” that instructional rigor was “low across the district,” and key systems and policies were “misaligned, poorly implemented, or simply non-existent.”
In 2013, the city began transforming the public education system by embracing school independence and an emphasis on transparency about student outcomes. Just as central: leadership who made listening to the community a top priority. The result was improved student outcomes and higher-performing schools. Post-pandemic, these qualities will continue to serve the system, as it works to once again rebound from significant challenges.