From the Record:
A voucher system that lets any child in New Jersey go to any school, public or private, is the “final solution” to an overly expensive system that continues to fail too many children, Governor Christie said Monday.
Christie told an enthusiastic school choice advocacy group in Washington that he will expand the number of public charter schools and supports a bipartisan bill to provide thousands of public scholarships so children in failing districts may attend private or parochial schools.
“They are trapped by a self-interested, greedy schoolteachers union that cares more about putting money in their own pockets and pockets of members than they care about educating the most vulnerable and needy children,” Christie said.
But Christie said he was committed to going further. He said he saw families in Newark agonize over children losing a lottery to get into a successful charter school, while his income gave him the ability to choose to send his children to Catholic school.
“A single mother in Newark working two jobs to keep a roof over her child’s head should have no less ability to make that choice than my wife and I had,” he said.
Christie said the climate is right for passage of a scholarship bill that some advocates say could serve as many as 24,000 children. It is sponsored by Sens. Raymond Lesniak, D-Elizabeth, and Thomas H. Kean Jr., R-Westfield, and will have its first hearing later this month.
Baker said that if schools are failing, giving the money that’s being spent on them to other schools won’t fix them, Baker said. The public needs to provide the resources to help them perform, and data have shown New Jersey among the nation’s leaders in closing the gap between the best schools and the worst, he said.
But Jackson said annually increasing budgets did not produce needed results.