by Valerie Smith
As a member of the E3 Team, Angel Cordero of Camden has been one of the leading School Choice Activists in the State of New Jersey. Most recently, Angel has extended his advocacy work in Washington, DC as a guest of Public School Options. Representing E3 and the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey, Angel networked with some of the top Education Choice Campaigners in the nation and got to experience grass root advocacy on Capitol Hill.
“I’ve never been to Washington, DC before and it was great to be able to see such a beautiful city and its’ monuments and to be at Capitol Hill where the action takes place. Being able to see our Capitol City made me very proud!” he added.
Public School Options, a national alliance of parents supporting and defending parental rights to access the best public school options for their children, is now active in New Jersey and they are calling for more public school options, including charter schools, virtual schools, magnet schools, open enrollment policies and other innovative education programs in the Garden State. The national organization boasts 77,000 grassroot activists in nearly 32 states.
The Trenton based chapter of the national organization represents more than 40,000 NJ families who have expressed interest in public school options, the more than 1,000 families who have already enrolled or sought enrollment in public charter schools using “virtual” or “blended” learning methods, and the more than 100 parents who have already expressed interest in becoming parent “advocates” for the NJ chapter.
Unfortunately, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools ranks New Jersey’s charter school laws #29, while the Center for Education Reform gives NJ a grade of “C”. Not good and definitely not meeting Angel’s standards for education reform for one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in the nation – the City of Camden. Camden’s failing schools have well over a 50% drop out rate!
Angel met Nina Rees, President & CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and got to speak to her about the need for more school choice. Nina is very familiar with the work of E3 but hadn’t meet Angel before this conference. Nina had known of Angel’s drop-out recovery program in Camden, Community Education Resource Network (CERN), from the movie “The Cartel” so both advocates got to meet in person and share some thoughts about the school choice movement in NJ.
In addition to meeting Choice Supporters from all over the nation, Angel had the opportunity to reach out to two of NJ’s Congressman. Staffers from both Congressman Lance’s office and Congressman Payne’s office greeted the NJ Choice Team and listened with interest to parents, advocates, and a student explain why choice is so important. Angel gave strong testimony about the sorrowful plight of Camden’s youth.
“This has been a wonderful experience and a great opportunity for me to learn more about the choice movement in other states and on Capitol Hill. Most importantly, I was able to tell school choice movers and shakers, who have the power to help and better our children, about how important school choice is to the people and City of Camden,” Cordero stated.
If you are interested in learning more about school choice or possibly getting involved in the movement, please contact the E3 team or Angel Cordero at AngelCordero54@gmail.com