Author Archive: Barbara Buono

College Economics 101: Better Information = Better Decisions

A note: The Staff Writers at Blue Jersey – listed to the right – are also the de facto editorial board for the site. We’ve decided that declared Democratic gubernatorial candidates should have the opportunity to express their views here: a free forum that does not impose the restrictions often required from newspapers and other media outlets. In other words: we are the place where NJ Democrats can hear from the candidates in their own words.

So, starting today, any declared candidate for governor will immediately have his or her posts moved to the front page. This is not an endorsement of any particular candidate; it’s a service for NJ Democrats.

So far, Senator Barbara Buono is the only declared candidate in this race; therefore, her posts will automatically move to the front page. We’ll grant this privilege to any other declared candidate from now until the primary election.

We’ll spell this out further in a post this week. Until then, here’s Senator Buono.

Cross posted at BarbaraBuono.com

Today, the Senate Higher Education Committee passed a bill I authored, S-2187. It, quite simply, has a single purpose – empowering New Jersey’s students. It provides prospective students and their families with an easy-to-understand fact sheet about the cost of attendance.

We live in an Information Age.  It is an age in which knowledge is power.  Because of what we know today, we have the ability to live better lives.  With what we know, we can make better decisions – whether big or small – each and every day.

Just the other day, I did some grocery shopping for my family.  Before I went to the store, I checked a few different circulars to find out what was on sale.  When I went out to buy the groceries, labels on the shelves made the lowest prices clear. And later that day when I got started on dinner, nutritional labels told me all about the vitamins and nutrients my family would consume by eating that food.

Income Inequality in New Jersey

promoted by Rosi

Originally published on PolitickerNJ. Cross-posted at DailyKos.

It comes as no surprise that income inequality in America – the divide between the wealthy and everyone else – has grown in recent years. Now we have a new report documenting the growing divide here in New Jersey.

The report “Income Inequality In New Jersey: The Growing Divide and Its Consequences,” issued by Legal Services of New Jersey, shows that this terrible trend is just as bad in New Jersey as in the country – maybe worse.

Basically, the report shows the rich have gotten richer and everyone else – middle class families, working people and the economically disadvantaged – have suffered. Whatever wealth that has been generated over the past decade has gravitated to the top.

More than 75 percent of the additional income generated in New Jersey went to the top 20 percent of households, with the richest 1 percent receiving the bulk of the increase. The bottom 40 percent lost income and everyone else experienced stagnate income or minimal growth that failed to keep pace with inflationary costs.  

Fighting for Gender Equality in Trenton

promoted by Rosi

Every year, the last few days of June in Trenton are dominated with talk about the budget – and rightly so. This year, when you factor in consideration of the rushed higher education merger plan, it is easy for news on other pieces of legislation to be drowned out by the big-ticket items. I wanted to make sure that you all knew about two significant advances we made yesterday to strengthen gender equality in New Jersey.

First, Senate Minority Leader Kean and Governor Christie agreed to my amendment to S-2070, which means that the Division on Women will remain a division when moved from the Department of Community Affairs to the Department of Children and Families. Originally, the Governor wanted to reduce the Division on Women to an office, diminishing the stature and power of the premiere agency of state government focused on supporting and advocating for women throughout New Jersey. This will make sure that the Division on Women still has a seat at the table in the new DCF. You can read my full statement over on Facebook. The final vote is scheduled for Monday.

There They Go Again

This from the Senator was posted late on Tuesday’s busy primary election day. Pulled up top for your consideration now. – promoted by Rosi

The revenue situation in New Jersey continues to go from bad to worse, recalling that scene in the Wizard of Oz when the curtain was pulled back to reveal that the Wizard was not some omnipotent force with the power to render miracles, but really just a curmudgeonly old man pulling some fancy levers.

It was a disillusioning moment for Dorothy and company, much like the scene being played out in Trenton today.

Chris Christie hype machine would like to have everyone believe that the Governor has single-handedly resuscitated New Jersey’s economy through the sheer force of his personality.  If hyperbole alone could create jobs and stimulate economic growth then, no doubt, we would be in good hands.

Unfortunately that’s not the case.

January Is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

There were no flashing lights or red flags that let 4,000 women across this country know that cervical cancer was coming.

Most of these women – mothers, sisters, daughters, and aunts – felt no pain and lived normally unaware of the disease that in a matter of time would take their lives.

Most of these women – the majority of whom were under the age of 65 – are survived by friends and family, neighbors and co-workers who loved them and miss their presence daily.

All of these women – casualties of an illness that is 100 percent preventable – should still be here today.

Stop Chris Christie From Gutting Environmental Protections

As you know, earlier this year Governor Christie set out to change the rules and allow corporations to end-run long-standing environmental laws. Essentially, this would weaken over 100 necessary protection guidelines. The Christie’s Administration’s radical, regressive push would put not only New Jersey’s land, air and water in harm’s way, but the health of our families, as well.

Teacher Evaluation: Research-based not Sound-bite driven

What do you think, Blue Jersey?  – promoted by Rosi

At the forefront of education reform is how we can do a better job identifying and developing excellent teachers. This is of course rooted in the notion that since teacher quality is the greatest in-school determinant of student academic achievement, then in order to improve student learning we need to look at teacher practices within the classroom.

The stakes are high and we cannot be lured into settling on simplistic solutions to solve complex educational issues. Test scores using “value-added measures” (VAM) attempt to measure teacher quality with test scores by employing complex assumptions and statistical modeling to account for nonschool factors affecting student achievement.

While some research has been done using VAM to evaluate teacher effectiveness, there is significant disagreement over which statistical approach is best and to what extent any given one will produce accurate and unbiased measures of a teacher’s impact on student achievement.

Letter from Senator Barbara Buono on decision to not seek re-election as Majority Leader

Dear Colleagues:

Two years ago, I was honored to be selected as the first woman to serve as Senate Majority Leader in New Jersey history.

This was an important milestone for our state, which has always led the nation in promoting diversity and inclusion. It was an important milestone for the Democratic Party, which quite literally relies on women to maintain its electoral majorities.  And, it was a great personal milestone for me.