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Education Committee Members Hope Speech Will Shed Light on Governor’s Heretofore Unnamed Education Priorities in Light of Recent Missteps

Democratic members of the Assembly Education Committee today called on Governor Christie to release the text of the keynote speech he will deliver in Washington D.C. tonight before the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Given the Governor’s recent missteps, which have called into question his commitment to education in New Jersey, the democratic lawmakers hope his speech will shed some light on his educational priorities and how he hopes to achieve excellence in education for New Jersey.

“In the 10 months since he took office, this Governor has all but ransacked our education system,” said Education Committee Chair Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. (D-Middlesex). “From day one he has created a war with teachers and administrators, taken away nearly a billion dollars in aid to schools while raiding them of their surplus funds, and botched numerous applications to secure federal funding that would have helped offset these losses. Now he is headed to Washington to talk about excellence in education. If he has a secret plan to achieve this, then by all means, he should be sharing it with the legislature so we can work together to institute it.”

“Without an Education Commissioner or a Secretary of Higher Education, New Jersey is lacking the leadership necessary to achieve excellence in this area,” said Education Committee Vice Chair Joan M. Voss (D-Bergen). “Perhaps the Governor should cancel his trip to Washington and spend more time focusing on selecting qualified people to fill these posts so that our education system doesn’t continue to suffer.”

“One can only imagine that if the Governor is speaking on excellence in education, he will have to point to his first year in office as an example of what not to do. Otherwise the topic of his speech would have to be ‘How to Fight with Every One and Accomplish Nothing,'” said Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex). “As a former educator, I understand the tough times we are in as the rapidly changing 21st century creates new demands on our education system. Now is the time when we should be working together to meet these challenges head on.”

“The Governor has attacked our educators, local leaders and superintendents and decimated funding for education, while pretending to care about our children’s outcomes,” said Assemblywoman Elease Evans (D-Bergen/Passaic). “I would imagine these will not be topics during his speech tonight so I am curious to know what plans he has for New Jersey to achieve excellence in education.”

“First it was $400 million in Race to the Top Funds, now New Jersey’s children have lost out on $14 million in federal charter school aid,” said Mila M. Jasey (D-Essex). “I can’t imagine how the Governor’s imprudent approach to our children’s future qualifies him to speak at a national forum on excellence in education.”

“It’s time that the Governor called a truce in his war on education,” said Assemblyman Paul D. Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “He cannot continue to attack every one in the system, from teachers to administrators, and expect to achieve positive outcomes, particularly where morale is concerned. Not everyone is the enemy and as soon as the Governor learns that, the better off we’ll be.”

“Hopefully the Governor will use his time in Washington to explore new ideas for improving New Jersey’s education system,” said Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer). “It’s unfortunate that we lost out on these applications because they would have provided much-needed federal funding for our education system. Now is the time when we should be working together to meet these challenges head on.”