Author Archive: Marie Corfield

Courier News Endorses Me For State Assembly

promoted by Rosi

Earlier today I posted to Facebook that the Courier News endorsed me. They have not posted an electronic version, but we found a hard copy. Here it is…

Courier News endorses Corfield for Assembly in 16th District.

Courier News, Sunday, November 5, 2012

Assemblywoman Donna Simon of Readington says what many voters like to hear these days: “Not a penny more” is Simon’s mantra, and it undoubtedly plays well with much of the 16th District masses.

But that seems about as far as Simon’s governing philosophy goes. The Republican incumbent repeats standard conservative dogma, but without much depth or understanding behind it. For instance, she reflexively touts the wisdom of across-the-board income tax cuts, but seems perplexed by the notion that such cuts disproportionately benefit the wealthy.

Democratic challenger Marie Corfield, a Flemington teacher, brings a far more layered approach to the campaign. Simon depicts her as a tax-happy teachers union, but Corfield’s support for public workers and education reform appears more thoughtful than that. Voters may not like hearing a politician suggest that some sort of tax hike could be necessary to achieve a desirable end, as Corfield did in conceding that a gas-tax bump might turn out to be the best solution to fund transportation projects. Simon’s “not a penny more” slogan sounds better. But it’s also too simplistic.

Simon was appointed to replace the late Peter Biondi, who died shortly after he was re-elected last November. This election is for the rest of Biondi’s unexpired term, in a traditionally Republican district, although redistricting has shifted demographics more the Democrats’ way. Simon’s been an active legislator, but her perspective seems shallow.

We’re making Corfield our pick in the 16th.

Another Blue Jersey Thank You

ICYMI, Here's the story of how the national Democrats recognized Marie Corfield's LD-16 special election as the top grassroots-powered race in the country, in their yearly Essential Races List. Below, her thanks for the small role Blue Jersey played. Promoted by Rosi

As someone who is rarely at a loss for words, I’m struggling to find some that can express how I feel about all that has transpired this week. For those of you who missed it, Corfield for Assembly was voted the number one grass roots campaign on the DLCC’s list of Emerging Races for 2012. And it happened because you made it happen.

So here are some words that speak to how I’m feeling…

Gratitude. Apologies in advance if I fail to mention your name. There are so many people to thank—people I know, and people I don’t know. But you are no less important, and I am no less thankful for all your help.

• First and foremost, my team and my kitchen cabinet. I wouldn’t be here without you all. Your energy and enthusiasm—and my gratitude—are boundless.

• Everyone here at Blue Jersey, especially Jersey Jazzman, Kendall James, Senator “Jersey Girl” Weinberg, Deciminyan, and editor, mentor, friend, member of the kitchen cabinet, and fellow Hunterdon County Democrat, Rosi Efthim, who steered this cybership all week. (JJ & D, you were awesome on Twitter, too!)

• Every person I know on Facebook, including family, friends, co-workers, and the group I call ‘The Fight’— people from all over the country who saw my ‘You Tube moment’, felt a visceral connection, and sent me a friend request before I ever thought about running for office. And DFA.

• All my Tweeps, especially @DianeRavitch, @Darciecima, @stopthefreezeNJ, @leoniehaimson, @teacherken, @AnthonyCody, @johnleesandiego, and @NJParents1. The power of your connections cannot be underscored enough.

Humility. I never set out on this course, but life sometimes has better ideas. A door opens and we either choose to walk through, or let it close. I walked through. I am humbled and honored that so many people support me. I’m working very hard to do you proud.

Fired Up! This is no time to sit and watch the grass grow. Let’s get to work! We have 24 days to make this happen. We are the grass roots race to watch in the entire country. We must not rest on our laurels. We must now work harder than ever, and engage others to do the same.

My opponent, the Tea Party’s Donna Simon, is out of touch with the wants and needs of the middle class and working families of this district, and this state, and she has the voting record to prove it. On day one in Trenton I will be a voice for all the people who’ve been shut out of the so-called ‘Jersey Comeback’. I will be a voice for hardworking men and women, children, the poor, minorities, seniors, taxpayers and the LGBT community. I will fight to make sure that the real ‘Jersey Comeback’ is good for all of us, not just a chosen few.

To volunteer and donate (because I need you to do both), please go to my website. Then share it with everyone.

Thank you.

Now let's win this thing.

Tea Party Candidate Simon’s Actions Speak Louder Than Her Words

Marie Corfield is the Democratic candidate for the LD-16 Assembly Special Election. By disclosure, virtually everyone of the writers here at Blue Jersey is actively working on her campaign – including me. She's a force of nature, and this is a very vigorous campaign in a winnable newly-configured district. – Rosi

This week my opponent, Tea Party-endorsed Donna Simon, tried to hide from her vote against women's health. While I agree with her on the need to raise awareness regarding breast cancer, I question her actions voting against funding for women’s health including cancer screenings. They cannot be covered up by resolutions and press releases.

On June 25, 2012, Tea Party-endorsed Donna Simon voted against S788, a women’s health bill that would have provided funding for preventive health care such as clinical breast exams, pap smears and cancer screenings. The funding would not have covered abortions.

I believe that this funding for women’s health and preventative care, opposed by Donna Simon, could have helped to ultimately reduce costs in the long run. I also think New Jersey women deserve better than Donna Simon’s rhetoric, which is undermined by her actions. That's one of the reasons I am running for Assembly. The hard working families of the 16th district deserve better than her extreme positions and double talk when it comes to women’s health.

For more information about how you can help me stand up for women's health click here.

Star Ledger misses the mark on Urban Hope Act

I'm disappointed to see the Star Ledger Editorial Board miss another opportunity to set the record straight on education 'reform'. I've written previously about their lack of fact-checking, as has Blue Jersey staff writer, Jersey Jazzman

Yes, editorials are opinions, but they are not the same as water cooler arguments. In order to have validity, the facts supporting the case being made should be accurate. The Ledger has not done its homework for this piece about The Urban Hope Act. As the state's largest newspaper, they reach millions of people who don't know all the issues surrounding education 'reform'. This piece paints the problems Camden and other poor school districts face with broad and misinformed brush strokes.

Given the current culture of ‘blame the teacher’, it’s easy to see how they place the blame for poor performance on ‘disastrous’ instructional programs. Never mind that Camden St. School isn't even in Camden (it's a special education school in Newark), no child can possibly learn and very few teachers can effectively teach in a high school riddled with crime and violence. However, I’ve never heard of any subject—not even math—being responsible for 249 reported incidents of violence. But I do know that things like homelessness, poverty, gang involvement, abuse, drugs, and parents with a history of criminal behavior are—not to mention drastic cuts to the local police force.

 

An open letter to New Jersey teachers…

Dear New Jersey Teachers,

No doubt over the next few days you will engage your students in discussions and activities surrounding the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. If not for your efforts, the only thing some children today would know about him is that they get a day off for his birthday.

Thank you.

And thank you for everything you do to enrich the lives of your students. You work hard both inside and outside the classroom to bring the world—past, present and future—to your charges. Sometimes you have to move mountains, sometimes you ride waves, sometimes you're doing both simultaneously, but you do it all because it's your passion, your calling. You can't think of anything else you'd rather be doing than teaching 24 wide-eyed first graders about the developmental stages of a butterfly. Or helping one terminally stuck 9th grader slog through algebra (that was me).

And your dedication shows. New Jersey has one of the best public education systems in the country. 

But, as you all know, that is changing. I won't go on about corporate education 'reform' because I'd be preaching to the choir. But if somehow you missed what's been happening in New Jersey education policy over the past two years, I suggest you sit down and read every post ever written by Jersey Jazzman. Then read columnist and author, Chris Hedges, beautifully poignant piece about why the United States is destroying its education system.

Read it. 

Share it.

Why push-back against charters? Because they don’t deliver the goods.

promoted by Rosi

Given the Star Ledger's overtly biased opinions about public education and teachers—most notably their New Year's day work of fiction and the firestorm it created in the Twitter/blogospheres (this link to the piece and my response also contains links to other opposing opinions including SOSNJ and NJParents1)—I do commend their Dec. 27 editorial, The push-back against charter schools, for trying to see both sides of this debate. But it does not go far enough, and ends up perpetuating some long-standing myths about these publicly funded but privately run schools.

Let’s start with the myth that they are a cure for failing schools. They are not. Two extensive studies done in the past two years, and partially funded by billionaire-turned-education-reformer Bill Gates—the CREDO at Stanford University study, and Gates’ own Center for Reinventing Public Education study released in November—conclude that the majority of these for-profit institutions do no better than their public school counterparts. A small number are better; many are worse. The latter study went so far as to say that the better ones “are not statistically significant.” So why is the state pushing them? Because they provide cheap alternatives to state funded education, while allowing wealthy investors to double their money in seven years and get a 37% tax break on their investment with little to no financial or academic accountability.

Myths continue, after the fold

Star Ledger Needs to Check Their Facts

I was very disappointed to start my New Year off this morning by reading a fact-less and biased op-ed piece in The Star Ledger about the Voucher Bill. It had already lit up the Twitter and Facebook feeds long before I had my first cup of coffee, with Save Our Schools NJ and NJParents1 posting fact-filled responses.

It is reprehensible and irresponsible for the state's largest newspaper to publish such a work of fiction. Anyone could do a quick Google search to find plenty of evidence to refute their claim that vouchers offer 'a lifeline for poor kids'. I do hope Politifact New Jersey does their homework on this one. 

This is not a Democrat vs. Republican or state vs. NJEA issue. This is an issue of our government offering false hope to families of struggling students, financial aid to struggling private and parochial schools, and tax breaks to big corporations. This program that has been tried in various cities around the country for 20 years with no measurable success does nothing to address the crushing effects of poverty on a child's ability to learn. And according to both the US Census Bureau and the NJDOE, poverty, or lack thereof, is a major factor in a child's success in school.

If Trenton is serious about helping struggling students, why not let corporations give those tax breaks to programs that will help the poor live decent lives including affordable health insurance, housing, jobs, and ESL classes? Or how about giving that money directly to the school districts not only to invest in measures that have been proven to work such smaller class sizes, rich, deep curriculums, and strong half day pre-K and full day kindergarten programs, but to help them buy much needed materials and fix broken down, dilapidated buildings?

Newspapers are supposed to uncover the truth, not perpetuate lies. The Star Ledger can and should do better.

As the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, "You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts."

Let Your Light Shine Today!

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Depending on your viewpoint, those two phrases can either bring a smile or a scowl today. But the latter actually encompasses its universal celebration of light. And in light of the fact that our state—and much of the world—is suffering from a great lack of enlightenment right now, here's a little bit of history of this special day…

Having its roots in celebrations surrounding the Winter Solstice and the returning of light to the world as the days grew longer, ancient Babylonians celebrated the feast of the Son of Isis, Goddess of Nature, on December 25. Later, the Romans would honor Saturn, the God of Agriculture. Both celebrations included eating, drinking, singing (which later evolved into caroling), time spent with family and gift-giving. Sound familiar? In 350 Pope Julius l declared December 25 as the official date of Christ's birth as a way to bring Pagan Romans into the fold of Christianity.

The light of the Christmas Tree comes from German traditions. According to History.com:

Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes… It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.

So, no matter what light you honor, whether its gazing at the stars, eagerly anticipating the return of sunlight to our dark days, or celebrating the birth of the “light of the world”, they all come together in one day of celebration. This day belongs to the world. It reminds us of the deep connections we have to each other as fellow human beings in a world that is so often so polarizing.

And what's so bad about that? 

So, to my fellow Blue Jerseyans—and yes, even those not so blue—Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! And Happy Hanukkah! I'm so happy that the light of my Jewish brothers and sisters shines brightly today, too!

Education Reform: For Profit, Not For Progress

Before the end of the year Governor Christie wants the legislature to pass the remainder of his property tax ‘tool kit’ including his education ‘reform’ agenda. And the fate of one of the nation’s best public education systems and thousands of its students hang in the balance.

Out of over twenty four hundred schools in this state, about two hundred are not doing a good enough job educating their students. These schools are mostly in the former Abbott districts, some of the poorest cities in this country, where the Black unemployment rate is almost double the state average, and one in five children live in poverty.

The governor and Acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf, along with their education advisors, Better Education for Kids (B4K) and Excellent Education for Everyone (E3), do not address this almost criminal disparity of wealth despite the fact that one of the DOE's earlier Abbott district reports cites poverty as a major roadblock to student achievement:

 

Ed Reform 101 Extra Credit: Marie Corfield

Early in Chris Christie’s tenure, a Hunterdon public school teacher stood up to him at one of his early “Town Hall” meetings carefully stacked with adoring Republicans. To their delight, he used the opportunity to dress her down for the benefit of his cameras (paid for with your tax dollars) in his first “YouTube Moment”. Corfield has since become a lightning rod for national coverage of the governor, and of education privatizers whose first step is denigrating public school teachers. And Corfield is also now a candidate for the NJ Assembly, in the 16th District. She wrote this postscript to our Ed Reform 101 series, at our request. – promoted by Rosi

My favorite hero of fiction is Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. Set in Alabama during the Great Depression, Atticus, an attorney and single father, defends Tom Robinson, a black man, wrongly accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a white woman, and in the process teaches his children invaluable lessons about tolerance, compassion and understanding.

During the trial, Atticus asks Mayella’s father, Bob Ewell, why he called for help from everyone except the one person who could really help his daughter-a doctor-because a doctor would have seen right away that Mayella was indeed beaten by her father, and not raped by Tom Robinson. But in the end, prejudice won, and Tom was convicted.