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Christie calls for school choice to ensure access to quality schools

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SECOND UPDATE

Corzine campaign releases TV ad detailing Republican’s loan to subordinate

Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie said in Jersey City Monday that as governor he would expand school choice in an effort to provide children access to quality schools.

Christie offered his position as he and Monmouth County Sheriff Kim Guadagno, the Republican lieutenant governor candidate, visited the Learning Community Charter School to tour its new facilities and meet with educators and and parents.

Christie charged that In New Jersey's cities, school districts are continuing to fail and that Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine has responded to the problem by what the Republican described as, "Green lighting their wasteful budgets without requiring change – simply sticking by these failed big government bureaucracies instead of focusing on what is best for New Jersey's children.

"Jon Corzine puts on a good show at his photo-ops with charter school children but his record has been anything but supportive of school choice alternatives.''

Christie said charter schools have reported high academic performance while providing rich and well-rounded educations. He said in Jersey City alone, there are thousands on waiting lists to be enrolled in more cost effective and better alternatives to the traditional districts.

For example, he said, the Learning Community Charter School in Jersey City will spend $8,930 per pupil for the 2010 school year while traditional district schools in Jersey City will spend an estimated $17, 221 per pupil.

"Every child in New Jersey deserves an opportunity to attend a quality school and receive a world-class education,'' Christie said. "Charter schools, such as the Learning Community Charter School, provide New Jersey's parents and their children with much needed choice when their local schools and school districts fail at giving their students a high-quality education. It is vital to the future of New Jersey to ensure every child receives a high-quality education regardless of geography or socioeconomic status."

Christie said children deserve an education that will prepare them to compete in a 21st century workplace. He said in order to guarantee universal access to quality schools, the state must ensure parents have the choice to send their children to successful schools and the support to convert their local failing schools into successful charter schools.

As governor, Christie said he would:

  • Devote increased resources to assist parents and educators attempting to start new charter schools, as well as provide guidance and oversight throughout the charter school incorporation process.
  • Appoint an education commissioner who would oversee and prioritize the approval of high-quality charter school applications.
  • Eliminate what he sees as undue school board influence over charter school applications in failing districts.
  • Ensure that if children need to leave a failing school to ensure the quality of their education, state aid should follow them to the charter school of their choice.

While Christie was in Jersey City, Corzine was meeting with a group of approximately 30 parents and teachers at South Brunswick High School to reaffirm his commitment to what he called the highest educational standards for New Jersey students. The meting was designed to highlight the concerns of parents and teachers as the new school year begins.

"Investing in education is the right thing to do for the state's economic well-being and it prepares students to compete in the ever-evolving global economy," Corzine said. "We have increased investments in education by over $1.8 billion, including federal funds that ultimately will help to maintain and strengthen the future of New Jersey's highly talented and educated workforce."

Corzine said he has fought to strengthen education by focusing on resources, rigor, and accountability. The governor said that ensuring funding for schoolchildren in districts that were previously shortchanged is important. South Brunswick received a 20 percent increase in the first year of the state's new funding formula, and a 5 percent increase for the 1009-10 school year.

Corzine said he remains committed to moving forward with other educational reforms to ensure students receive a quality education such as preschool, maintaining high quality teachers and continuing to set high standards for students and assessments.

"We need the partnerships of parents and teachers to continue our ongoing work on these and future efforts," the governor said.

While Christie talked about school access, Corzine's re-election campaign released a new TV ad, entitled “Required”. The ad details the $46,000 loan then New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie gave to a subordinate.

Christie initially failed to report the loan on his federal disclosure forms. The ad declares the omission is a violation of both federal and state laws. Christie also initially failed to pay the required income taxes on the interest generated by the loan.

Starting Monday, the 30-second spot will be on cable and broadcast television across New Jersey.

The ad charges that as US attorney, "Christie prosecuted people for the same sort of  “mistake” – filing incomplete financial disclosure forms and tax evasion. This is the latest example of Chris Christie having one set of rules for himself and another for everyone else.''

– TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

 

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