Public education in New Jersey

The life of this post, I think, is in the comments and reactions to it, respectfully moreso than in the post. What do you think, Blue Jersey? Promoted by Rosi

Cross-Posted at

As a teacher with four children in the public schools, strengthening our schools to provide a quality education for all our children is important to me on a very personal level. In order for New Jersey to be competitive, we need strong public schools in all corners of our State.

Education is the silver bullet to so many societal ills.

My campaign for the New Jersey State Senate has attracted parents and educators who also share a commitment to our schools. Last week, Bishop Dr. Reginald T. Jackson endorsed my campaign stating: “As an educator himself and Policy Director to President Obama, I know Mark can lead the way in Trenton on education reform and so many other important issues being debated in Trenton.” And in countless meetings throughout the district – at train stations, supermarkets and while knocking on doors, one refrain is constant: parents want New Jersey schools to be the best they can be.

Education is the pathway.

When people started to speculate that Bishop Jackson’s endorsement of my campaign was all about school vouchers, it was the ugly side of politics shining through. Bishop Jackson has been an inspirational leader for all in New Jersey for decades. He is supporting me over Senator Gill because he knows we need new, independent leadership in Trenton. We need independent leadership in Trenton that will abandon the current practice of saying “No” to any new idea, and adopt as Bishop Jackson so wisely says an approach to education that is “by any means necessary” to achieve improvement.

In too many schools in the 34th District and across New Jersey students are testing below median averages in areas of language and math. There is a disturbing trend of a racial achievement gap manifesting itself. The time has come for new ideas and new energy so we can lift every school up and place them on the right track. A quality education should not be dependent on your zip code or income level.

We can do better. And we must do better.

That was my promise to Bishop Jackson: that I will work with him to make our inner city schools better. I cannot sit idly by while too many continue to fail. I will work with the New Jersey Education Association and other stakeholders to ensure that everyone has a seat at the table, that every voice is heard, and that we reach a consensus that makes our schools better for our children. The time has come to change the status quo and to ensure that a quality education in our public schools is universal across our district. The first step on that journey comes by voting for new leadership in Trenton.

Comments (11)

  1. vmars

    Vouchers are a way to kill public education, not a way to improve it.  Some children may get improved educations, but by allowing public dollars to pay for private education you:

    • Siphon off quality students who have parents active in their education, leaving behind fewer people to join PTA, school boards, etc.;
    • Siphon off dollars from the very schools that need it most due to externalities not the children or parents’ doing;
    • Weakens educational standards by allowing things like “intelligent design” into the classroom paid for by public funds
    • Removes public oversight from the use of public dollars because those paying have no say in how the schools using their money are managed

    I, for one, cannot support anyone for office who will not categorically oppose public money used for private school vouchers.

    There are many other ways that education can be improved that don’t involve weak standards and loss of public oversight of public dollars.

  2. 12mileseastofTrenton

    when even in this diary you clearly don’t rule out vouchers?  Seems reasonable to conclude that Jackson, a well known voucher advocate, endorsed you because you appear willing to consider vouchers.  How is that ugly?

  3. sayitaintso

    jobs that pay a living wage are the silver bullet– if there is any.  

    When people can afford to put food on the table,  hunger is not a problem.

    When people can pay rent or a mortage, they don’t go homeless.

    When taxpayers are working, they can support schools and libraries.

    When parents can live on one job, they can supervise children.

    When children believe that graduation will lead to a career they are motivated to graduate.

  4. ken bank

    Check out what’s going on in school districts across the state, even suburban GOP districts like Barnegat which have to deal with layoffs and tax increases because of Chris Christie’s hidden tax on school construction:


    It seems to me a civil rights “leader” and proponent of public education shouldn’t have to take his time before waiting to endorse Barbara Buono for Governor, especially after what’s been revealed about Chris Christie’s hidden tax on schools construction.  

  5. DSWright

    Pretty clear what Jackson thinks will happen.


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