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New Jersey Governor Unveils Public-Private Partnership Program
posted by: Ruthie | June 13, 2011, 03:43 PM   

Last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie proposed legislation allowing for the privatization of the five lowest-performing schools in the state. The pilot program would transfer control to private school-management companies after school board approval in an effort to produce a turnaround. Since the late 1980’s, the state has experienced low-performing schools despite record-setting spending as mandated by the New Jersey Supreme Court. Consequently, state residents pay more per student in the state’s impoverished districts than in wealthy districts, resulting in the nation’s highest local property tax and little improvement in schools.

Christie believes this system of privatization will close the gap between urban and suburban schools, while simultaneously saving taxpayers money. "This pilot program will provide an innovative alternative for those children who need it most, bolstering our efforts to ensure opportunity for every child in our state," Governor Christie said. "This program will begin to restore hope in communities where failing schools deny children hope and opportunity."


If implemented as proposed, the program will begin with no more than five schools, selected by local school boards. The schools would report to the local school boards and would get 90 percent of the per-student taxpayer money that the traditional schools spend. For-profit public school operator firms would handle the costs of any school construction involved in transforming these schools. Details of how many students each school would accommodate have yet to be decided.

While supporters of this plan include low-income district Camden’s Board of Education President Susan Dunbar-Bey, Board President of Camden Cooper University Hospital George Norcross, and Acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf, the New Jersey Education Association vehemently opposes the proposal. The union sees this proposal as a threat to traditional public schools and an assault on the NJEA and its members. “It is part of his ongoing effort to privatize public education in New Jersey,” said NJEA President Barbara Keshishian. “Under the guise of helping students, he is attempting to create a system that would funnel taxpayer dollars to private companies.”

Governor Christie considers this education program one potential idea. Other options include supporting more schools that focus on projects and internships, expanding charter school programs, and a proposal that offers businesses 100 percent state tax credits for funding scholarships that would allow children to attend charter or private schools. Clearly, education leaders in New Jersey are considering innovative solutions to fix the state’s chronically failing schools.

What do you think of Governor Christie’s pilot program?
Comment below.

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by Tom Burns, July 17, 2011

Chris Christie is a joke---

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