Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Christie Backs School Choice

Yesterday, New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie and his running mate, Monmouth County Sheriff Kim Guadagno visited the Learning Community Charter School in Jersey City to tour the school's new facilities and meet with school leadership and parents.
In New Jersey's cities, school districts are continuing to fail and Jon Corzine has responded to the problem by green lighting their wasteful budgets without requiring change - simply sticking by these failed big government bureaucracies instead of focusing on what is best for New Jersey's children. Jon Corzine puts on a good show at his photo-ops with charter school children but his record has been anything but supportive of school choice alternatives.
Charter schools have reported high academic performance while providing rich and well-rounded educations. In Jersey City alone, there are thousands on waiting lists to be enrolled in more cost effective and better alternatives to the traditional districts. For example, the Learning Community Charter School in Jersey City will spend $8,930 per pupil for the 2010 school year while traditional district schools in Jersey City will spend an estimated $17, 221 per pupil for the 2010 school year.
Chris Christie stated: "Every child in New Jersey deserves an opportunity to attend a quality school and receive a world-class education. Charter schools, such as the Learning Community Charter School, provide New Jersey's parents and their children with much needed choice when their local schools and school districts fail at giving their students a high-quality education. It is vital to the future of New Jersey to ensure every child receives a high-quality education regardless of geography or socioeconomic status."
New Jersey's children deserve an education that will prepare them to compete in a 21st century workplace. In order to guarantee universal access to quality schools, New Jersey must ensure parents have the choice to send their children to successful schools and the support to convert their local failing schools into successful charter schools.
A Christie-Guadagno Administration will commit to the following reforms to expand school choice for New Jersey's children:

Increase Resources at the Department of Education for Charter School Implementation. A Christie-Guadagno Administration will devote increased resources to assist parents and educators attempting to start new charter schools, as well as provide guidance and oversight throughout the charter school incorporation process.

Appoint a Commissioner of the Department of Education to Oversee Charter School Approvals. In 2008, the Corzine Administration approved only one charter school, despite twenty-two applications. Under a Christie-Guadagno Administration, a new Commissioner will be created to oversee and prioritize the approval of high-quality charter school applications.

Eliminate Undue School Board Influence Over Charter School Applications in Failing School Districts. School boards in failing school districts are allowed far too much influence over the charter school application process, which creates a troubling conflict of interest. A Christie-Guadagno Administration will eliminate the role these school boards have over the charter school application process within their districts.

Enact Fair Application of School Funding Law to Provide Charter Schools Appropriate Access to Public Funds. If a child needs to leave a failing school to ensure the quality of their education, the state aid for that child's education should follow them to the charter school of their choice. A Christie-Guadagno Administration will assure the public funding provided for each child's education follows them to the school that administers their education.

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