Tag Archive: Education

(Updated) NJEA Endorses Incumbents, but not Garrett

The NJEA recently announced their list of Congressional endorsements. In almost every case, they went with the incumbent – whether Democratic or Republican. There were a few exceptions. In the 11th district (where Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen is the incumbent), they made no endorsement. The NJEA also didn’t take sides in the 7th, urging members to “make their own choice” between Mike Ferguson and Linda Stender. Perhaps not so surprisingly, they snubbed Scott Garrett in the 5th by endorsing Paul Aronsohn – the only congressional challenger to be endorsed by the NJEA.

From Aronsohn’s statement announcing the endorsement:

“Simply stated, when it comes to public education, Scott Garrett has it wrong.  He consistently votes to cut funding for No Child Left Behind, for special education, for vocational education and for higher education.  And Garrett believes that home schooling should be treated equally with public schooling.”

Considering their inclination to play it safe and side with incumbents, this endorsement says more about Scott Garrett than it does about Paul Aronsohn. Of course, had they not genuinely believed in Aronsohn, they would have stayed out of the race completely like they did in the 11th, but this should serve as another reminder of just how extreme Congressman Scott Garrett is. This is the same person who while in the state Assembly, called for the abolition of the federal Department of Education. In endorsing his opponent, the NJEA is sending a clear message about Scott Garrett. Though he would like to paint himself as a moderate, he hails from the extreme anti-tax, starve-the-government-until-it’s-small-enough-to-drown-in-a-bathtub wing of the Republican party, and voters should be reminded of that every day.

Update (11:15 AM): On second thought, this could be more about Aronsohn than Garrett. Unlike this year, in 2004 the NJEA didn’t endorsement Garrett or his opponent.

Op-Ed: New Jersey higher ed cuts spell disaster

Unless some miracle emerges from the current stalemate between Gov. Jon Corzine and the state legislature, public colleges and universities in the Garden state are not only facing a loss of $169 million in direct funding, they may not get another $121.8 million that would normally be used to reimburse them for having to pay for increased salaries and benefits on state negotiated union contracts. The planned cuts will be disastrous for the whole state, not just the students and employees of the higher education system.

The colleges and universities have announced a number of drastic measures that they will take if the cuts go through, including increasing class sizes, cutting student aid, cutting programs (and in some cases, faculty lines), freezing hiring, deferring maintenance, and hiking tuition. At TCNJ, we’ve been told to expect to spend the first week of January, 2007 without a paycheck. Op-ed writers have been quick to characterize the proposed cuts as counter-productive and short-sighted. It’s also been widely noted that New Jersey is contemplating these cuts at a time when states such as Pennsylvania are increasing their investment in higher education.

The state’s underinvestment in higher education has increased the burdens on college students and their families. A white paper posted to the website of the Hall Institute found that inconsistent state funding practices over the last 15 years have caused tuition prices at state colleges to rise faster than the rate of inflation. According to the paper, entitled Making Public Higher Education Affordable in New Jersey, “Even taking account of state and federal financial aid, public higher education has become unaffordable for low and lower middle income families, and threatens soon to become unaffordable for the middle class. Since higher education is a powerful generator of opportunity and increased wages, the State faces a tremendous loss due to its failing commitment to higher education.”

“Death by a million paper cuts.”

That’s how the property tax problem was described last night by a resident of East Windsor Township. In the pouring rain a few hundred people came out to talk to and hear from the 12th LD’s elected representation: State Senator Ellen Karcher, Assemblyman Michael Panter and Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck in a School Funding Forum hosted by the East Windsor Regional School District. The district consists of E. Windsor and Hightstown Borough; along with more than 50% of the districts statewide, they voted down their budget this year. (All comments in quotes are from residents at the forum.)

News Round-up for Wednesday, April 12

News Round-up for Wednesday, April 12, 2006

  • Gov. Corzine and the DOT presented the FY2007 transportation system plans yesterday, with the goal of getting expanding mass transit and reducing congestion on our highways. The governor requested $1.3 billion for NJ Transit- including $356 million in operating subsidies for train and bus lines, $184 million for commuter ferries in communities such as Camden and Elizabeth,  expansion of light rail in Bergen and Hudson counties, and expansion of the PATCO rail line between South Jersey and Philadelphia. $1.9 billion was called for for highway improvements, and $525 million for bridge repairs. Certain “controversial highways” were not on the list, such as Route 92 (Central Jersey), Route 55 (South Jersey), and extending Route 15 (Sussex County.) A list of other major projects in the DOT plans is available here.
  • Tomorrow in Trenton, U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler is scheduled to hear the arguments from a coalition of restaurants and bars seeking to have the New Jersey indoor smoking ban declared unconstitutional. The ban is scheduled to go into effect Saturday, but some municipalities are still questioning how to enforce it.
  • The state Board of Public Utilities is set to vote today on a proposal which would require 20 percent of the energy supplied in the state by 2020 to come from renewable sources (ex.  wind or solar.) Michael Winka, director of clean energy for the board, projects that the regulation would cost the average homeowner about twenty bucks additional per year. The Meadowlands commission is already on board, planning to cover 30 acres of parking lots and roofs with solar panels beginning next year.  Go solar! Go solar!
  • Lawmakers are attempting to address the problems of misspent funds and waste at state-funded preschools, including some calling for a grand jury to be empaneled. The Attorney General’s office is investigating. Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, chair of the Assembly Budget Committee,  said he plans to “grill” Department of Education on the issue officials during budget hearings.
  • Environmentalists and sportsmen called for a more stable funding of the park system in Our Fair State at a news conference yesterday. $40 million was included in the Governor’s proposed budget but the groups are seeking $180 million.
  • Gov. Corzine yesterday signed a law giving DYFS caseworkers unrestricted access to police information on known sex offenders. The new law gives the caseworkers the same access as law enforcement personel.
  • Passover begins tonight at sundown. The holiday celebrates the Jewish people’s freedom from slavery, as well as heralding the beginning of spring. 
  • Gas prices this summer are expected to be about 25 cents higher than last year, according to the US Department of Energy, but are not expeted to hamper tourism. Might make a few more people buy tickets for the lottery, however.

News Roundup Friday March 17

Happy St. Patty’s Day! How will you be celebratin’?

  • AG Farber goes on the record saying she is against state sponsored murder. Good for her.
  • I’m no fan of “cutting the school budget,” but as a populist, I can’t stand when the bosses make 5 times what their subordinates make. This is Hudson county so maybe “$1,000 housing allowances” shouldn’t be a surprise, but something should definitely be done about this.
  • Speaking of Hudson County, looks like Jersey City will be plastered in campaign posters this year!
  • After being allowed to raise tolls as it pleased for 76 years, the Assembly voted unanimously to reign in the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission.
  • Yesterday, Paul Mulshine suggested ending the rebate program. Today, Governor Corzine is actually considering it.
  • Corzine picked a Homeland Security guy. Presumeably, this is not a case where politics makes strange “bedfellows” (ouch-I just had to get that on in though).
  • National News. The Republican Senate bumped the debt ceiling by almost $800 billion (with a B), to bring the grand total to $9 trillion (with a T). They then spent themselves right over that limit with a $2.8 trillion (with a T) budget. The House passed their own budget. Things that didn’t make it included Democratic measures such as funding port security. Things that did, another $92 billion for the war. Only $19 billion for Katrina recovery. Republican priorities.
  • This weekend (March 19th) marks the third year we are in Iraq. Over 2,000 Americans, 120,000 innocent Iraqis have died, Countless have been injured. Pick a protest to show your disdain.

$12.8 Billion to Finish Abbott School Projects

Jeebus! I am not even going to try and figure out how we got here (people get paid for that kind of thing), but 12.8 billion bucks is a ton of money.

However, before Repugnicans can go off and rant away at how this sounds impossible to reconcile, consider the NJ State factsheet from the 2006 Bush Budget:

2006 Budget Good News for New Jersey’s Children

The U.S. Department of Education’s FY 2006 budget provides $56 billion in Federal education funding – an increase of 33 percent since the President took office.

Title I Program funding increases to $13.3 billion for students in high-poverty schools. This is a 52 percent increase over 2001 levels.

Assuming Title I schools are the same schools affected by the Abbott ruling, NO PROBLEM.

So long as Bushie boy and the Repugnicans come through with the money, we don’t have anything to worry about!

Calling all Repugnicans in the Statehouse and Congress. Now is your time to shine!