I consider the greatest public policy involvement of my life to have been writing the regulations for NJ’s ground-breaking court decision and subsequent law in education reform-Abbott v. Burke while working at the state Department of Education. This law provided equal education funding, early childhood education dollars and new school facilities’ dollars to 31 special needs districts, many of which are in the 10th Congressional District. All three counties of this district have serious work to do on education. Our economy is global, and many children are not emerging from our schools with the proper tools they need to compete in the 21st Century. Change in education is a complex issue, but I will always work to build consensus, and to keep our efforts focused on our children and finding solutions that work.
In order for our children to be able to compete with students in Japan, Norway, China, and India, we have to have world-class education in Maplewood, Newark, Linden, Jersey City, and throughout the district. When elected, I will hold town-hall meetings on education that include this district’s many dedicated parents, teachers, and administrators. You are our best resource, and I promise to utilize our collective ability to bring about change, and work to bring the control of your children’s schools back in your hands.
Specifically, I will:
- Support an extensive overhaul of “No Child Left Behind” that focuses on real student achievement and less on prescriptive test scores as the only significant measurement of student competitiveness.
- Support more “wrap around” services for parents to help them become better advocates for their children. By meeting parental needs, we help them to meet their children’s needs and this should be a national effort
- Support reform ideas that have been proven to work at the local level such as the Global Village concept and innovative public charter schools that are forbidden from returning students to traditional public schools and take their fair share of special education and learning disabled students
- Support intra and interdistrict choice for parents and home schooling initiatives
- Support funding to provide universal access to early childhood education
- Support funding to hire well qualified teachers nationwide
- Support strong vocational education programs in county colleges and technical schools, with an emphasis on matching students with new industries and jobs in a growing economy to better ensure job placement
- Fight for federal student aid grant increases, especially the President’s goals to increase Pell grants, that keep pace with college tuition increases
- Fight for dollars nationally to support initiatives like NJ After 3 to support students with positive activities in the hours after school is dismissed and before parents come home from work
I will always advocate for our children as if our district’s future depends on it; because it does.