New Jersey Governor Chris Christie spoke at Bordentown Regional High School yesterday, where he took the opportunity to reaffirm his commitment to improving public education in the state. Christie held up Bordentown as a example of the great work being done on the ground level by educators and administrators to provide all New Jersey students with excellent education that will allow them to graduate college and career ready.
"The students here at Bordentown Regional High are a real testament to the great work being done in schools and classrooms all around our state today," said Governor Christie. "Every child in our state deserves the opportunity of a quality education, which is why I have made real education reform a top priority of my Administration.
The Governor also took the opportunity to promote the second stage of his comprehensive education reform proposal which he hopes the legislature will take up in the near future. Part of the Governor's agenda is to make the state compliant with the terms of the No Child Left Behind waiver granted to New Jersey by the Obama Administration. The package will include the School Children First Act which will implement a new teacher evaluation system statewide, rewrite the tenure requirements, and will allow administrators to consider both seniority and teacher effectiveness in hiring decisions.
The lawmakers will also be considering a bill that applies long-needed tweaks to the law governing New Jersey's charter schools.
The bill increases the number of charter school authorizers, permits public schools to be converted to charter schools by local boards of education as well as the Department of Education Commissioner, and increases charter autonomy while making them more accountable.
The final bill in the package is the Opportunity Scholarship Act which will provide tax credits to companies that contribute money to fund scholarships for low-income students.
"This Administration has made a commitment to provide unprecedented levels of state education aid and now it is time for the legislature to advance the second piece of our comprehensive education reform agenda," continued Governor Christie. "It's time for them to act and pass education reform. New Jersey's children can't afford anything less than to see us reform the rules for teacher evaluation, tenure and compensation."
Governor Christie also talked up his proposed education budget for next year, which will see an overall increase in state aid for K-12 schools. If the budget passes, Bordentown, in particular, will have its funding increase by over half a million dollars, which will represent a 7.3% increase over last year.