(TRENTON) – Assembly Education Chairman Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. (D-Middlesex) released the following statement Thursday as Gov. Chris Christie prepared to speak about his “education reform” at the Brookings Institute:
“When I heard Gov. Christie was going to be talking about education reform, my first thought was that this was going to be a rather short and empty speech.
“Let’s review the governor’s public policy record. Since taking office the governor has:
· Sliced school funding by $1 billion, driving up property taxes to historic levels and giving New Jerseyans their highest property tax hike since 2007;
· Implemented policies that led to new school activity taxes being charged to parents and reductions in educational quality through changes such as larger class sizes;
· Flubbed a $400 federal Race to the Top education funding application because he was more interested in fighting with teachers than education reform;
· Botched a $14 million grant application for charter schools;
· Eliminated state funding for the school breakfast program for poor children;
· Stalled school construction, leaving children in inadequate school facilities while his administration has been unable to explain how projects were chosen;
· Failed to install stable leadership at the Department of Education.
“Actions speak louder than words. The governor’s education policies have been a failure. It’s time to get to work on a bipartisan plan to make available quality education for all of the children of New Jersey.”