Friday, September 16, 2016

WOW! Moving Big Ed Battle To The Highest Level!

From our friends at Save Jersey:
By The Staff | The Save Jersey Blog

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie intends to spend his last full year on the job fighting the public school monopoly, Save Jerseyans.

It’s a fight that could also shape next year’s legislative and gubernatorial battles.

On Thursday, the N.J. Attorney General moved before the state Supreme Court to reopen the 30-year-old Abbott v. Burke case, a decision which stands in the way of the implementation of Christie’s game-changing Fairness Funding Formula.

“We’ve tried it for 30 years. What we know now is, more money alone does not translate into a better education. Better teaching methods, more instruction time and improved educational programs make the difference, and we cannot in good conscience fail another generation of children living in the Garden State’s poorest school districts by denying them access to a proper education that is delivered by eager and capable teachers. This situation must change,” said Governor Christie in a statement accompanying the new legal action which his office described as “historic.”

The Christie Administration is also asking the Court to freeze state funding for SDA districts at current levels to allow time for the other branches to act on a new formula.Thursday’s legal filings (linked here and here) ask the Court to permit Christie’s Commissioner of Education to bypass certain laws and collective negotiation agreements which, according to school choice advocates, prevent public schools from rewarding the right teachers and removing less-good teachers.

New Jersey spent approximately $100 billion in tax revenue on 31 targeted districts going back to 1985 notwithstanding persistent poor levels of achievement in each of those districts.

Unsurprisingly, the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), the organization that bankrolled 2015’s primary pro-Democrat candidate Super PAC, lashed out at the Governor.

“Christie wants to gut the best public schools in the nation to advance a partisan agenda that puts politicians ahead of children,” said NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer. “He wants to strip funding from New Jersey’s most economically challenged communities to give tax breaks to his wealthy neighbors in Mendham and other communities like it. He wants to eliminate the common-sense protections that keep schools from becoming political patronage mills. He wants to rob educators of the right to help create the working and learning conditions that are necessary for children to succeed.”

Christie’s allies and reform-minded advocates reacted very differently.

“This action demonstrates the governor’s commitment to the success of students who are being left behind by an outdated public-education system,” said Assemblyman Jon Bramnick (R-Union), the Assembly’s top Republican. “Charter schools in SDA districts have shown the ability to successfully graduate more students at a lower cost than traditional public schools. The Legislature must join the governor in advocating for students in failing districts and the taxpayers who can no longer afford the costs of this failed system.”

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