Johnson Calls on Governor Christie to Address Education Inequality in State Budget
Highlights Four Areas Where Christie Should Expand Funding
NEWARK, N.J. — Today, Jim Johnson called on Governor Christie to address the issue of education inequality in his final budget address. With the third-most segregated public school system in the country, New Jersey has continuously failed at giving all students access to a quality education. Governor Christie’s school funding system, the “Fairness Formula,” heightens education disparities by drastically short funding school districts with need in our state. Today, Johnson has called on Christie to abandon his “Fairness Formula” and focus on the inequality that plagues New Jersey’s public education system.
“If Christie tries to enact his “Fairness Formula” through the state budget, he will not only cause chaos in our schools, but also take away millions in state funding from urban and low-income districts. Our students are the future of our state, and should be Trenton’s first priority. More than 60 percent of black students and about 55 percent of Hispanic students attend schools in districts that would lose funding. That’s an outrage.” said Johnson. “‘I’m calling on Governor Christie to address New Jersey’s school disparities in his state budget and provide opportunities for each and every child.”
Specifically, Jim Johnson has called on Christie to address the following issues in his final budget proposal:
Universal, High-Quality Pre-K: While New Jersey has been leader on public preschool programs, which are crucial to ensuring educational equity, Governor Christie’s “Fairness Formula” would effectively eliminate these programs across the state. Tomorrow, Governor Christie should expand preschool funding rather than cut it, ensuring equal opportunity for our youngest students. Early education leads to higher wages, better health, and a better quality of life.
Support for After-School Programs: After-school programs keep children of working parents off the streets and out of harm’s way after the school day ends. In his first term, Governor Christie made the short-sighted decision to cut after-school program funding for the students who need it the most. In his final budget, Christie should restore funding to these programs that give every child a safe place to go after school before parents are home from work.
Fair Funding for Special Education: New Jersey’s funding formula for special education programs wrongly assumes that all school districts have the same percentage of students with disabilities. Governor Christie should amend the formula to fund special education based on enrollment statistics of students with disabilities in each district. Children with disabilities deserve access to an education that works for them, and we need a Governor who will fight to expand accommodations.
Relief for College Tuition: New Jersey college students have one of the highest debt burdens in the nation. To give relief to families that struggle with the rising costs of college, Governor Christie expand funding to New Jersey’s public colleges and universities and come up with a plan for students to graduate without debt.
“The future of New Jersey depends on our students. Investing in education is the only way we can curtail income inequality in our state, which now ranks the seventh worst in the nation. Every child, regardless of race, income, or zip code, deserves access to the same, high-quality education,” continued Johnson. “Trenton has time and time again failed to close the gap when it comes to disparities in our education system, and in turn, failed our children. The time to act is now. Rather than cut funding from the schools that need it most, Christie should expand it to put every child on the path to success.”