More news on the educational freedom front. The American Federation for Children reports from New Jersey:
Over 2,500 students, parents, education reform advocates, and legislators rallied outside a chilly State Capitol yesterday, demonstrating the overwhelming support for school choice and urging the state legislature to pass a plan that would create a scholarship tax credit program for students in the state’s worst performing school districts. Supporters called on lawmakers working in the Statehouse to pass the Opportunity Scholarship Act (OSA), a bipartisan bill that would allow thousands of children from low-income New Jersey families in the state’s most disadvantaged school districts to attend the schools of their parents’ choice. Organized by a coalition of New Jersey school choice advocates that includes We Can Do Better New Jersey and Excellent Education for Every (E3), the rally attracted champions of the legislation from cities all across the state, as well as national education reform supporters and elected officials from around the country. Among the speakers were State Sen. Thomas Kean, Jr. (R) and Assemblyman Angel Fuentes (D), sponsors of the OSA legislation in their respective chambers. … ” Supporters of the OSA called on lawmakers to quickly move the bill in the post-election legislative session which ends January 9. The OSA also enjoys the strong backing of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has made expanding educational options for children in low-income families a top priority.
Since he was elected, Governor Christie has been under constant fire from the left on school funding among other things. The argument has been, typically, that budget cuts hurt the kids in New Jersey’s schools. But at no point have his critics suggested school choice as a way to improve education in the state. Since school choice is an excellent way for parents to improve their children’s education, the left’s priority for more spending over school choice is a clear message on what really matters to them. Teacher compensation and maintenance of administrative ranks supersede the interests of the children in failing schools.
Governor Christie has thus far proven to be a capable leader, with a decent fiscally conservative slant, of one of the nation’s most liberal state. He has resisted attempts to draft him for a presidential run in 2012. Let’s hope he not only stays the course but also takes on the liberal school lobby on the issue of educational freedom.