Jarrett Renshaw/The Star-Ledger
May 1, 2013
TRENTON — If Gov. Chris Christie gets his coveted pilot school-voucher program through a stubborn Legislature next month, he may quickly find himself battling in another arena: the courtroom.
The Republican governor’s proposal to allow public school students to get vouchers to attend private or parochial school has hit a legislative roadblock, so he’s put a $2 million pilot program in his proposed state budget and hopes to use it as a bargaining chip during talks with Democrats. (more…)
“Parents and communities of color have been left out of the most important discussion (urban education reform) since the civil rights movement,” said Kevin Jenkins VP of Operations for E3.” “Engaging parents in the discussion, leading the process of reform utilizing the input of the stakeholders themselves is the only way to affect effective, systemic and sustainable change in urban education.” (more…)
As Excellent Education for Everyone (E3) continues to serve as the premier urban education reform organization in the state of New Jersey, I want to update you on some exciting developments that highlight the growing impact E3 is having on the education reform debate – impact that would not be possible without your critical support over the past few years, and I want to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation.
E3 has been working closely with our New Jersey School Choice and Education Reform Alliance (NJSCERA) to support Governor Chris Christie in promotion of school choice. The Governor recently announced in his 2014 budget proposal his intention to launch a $2 million school choice pilot program. With an initial focus on Camden, the pilot program will offer scholarships that low-income students in struggling schools will use to attend better performing public or private schools. This is a tremendous step forward in making school choice a reality in one of the bluest states in the country.
E3 is committed to leading the charge to support the Governor and the bipartisan group of NJ state officials behind him to secure pilot’s full implementation, which opponents have indicated they will spend whatever it takes to derail. Our activities will focus on three core areas: 1) legislative outreach to engage and bolster support from key Democratic members of the state legislature; 2) grass roots outreach to identify parents interested in participating in the OSA pilot program, as well as to bring to bear the voices of the broader community of parents in support of the OSA pilot as a critical first step in improving the quality of urban educational choice and standards; and 3) development of a sophisticated, multifaceted communications strategy to counter the opponents’ misinformation campaign that we anticipate will employ myriad tactics, from op-eds and billboards to TV spots and social media.
Securing a school choice program in Camden, challenging existing abysmal academic standards through the Vargas lawsuit against the Camden Board of Education, and conducting extensive community empowerment efforts to bring to bear the voices of those most afflicted by the failure of urban public education are three key aspects of E3’s comprehensive approach to urban education reform. A critical fourth component to this strategy is our Community Education Resource Network (CERN), established in Camden six years ago to provide alternative or supplemental educational programming for Camden students facing violent school environments or other obstacles to a descent education. CERN offers a continuum of care and real-time, on the ground solutions, providing a safe haven conducive for students to do homework, receive tutoring, counseling or mentoring, pursue a CERN administered GED curriculum or vocational training, and develop the critical skills they will need to survive and thrive in society.
We need your continued generous support to keep changing the dynamics of the education reform debate while simultaneously transforming the lives of young people in urban communities. I look forward to working together to maximize the impact we are having here in New Jersey and ultimately across the country.
Christy Davis Jackson
By Matthew Arco
PATERSON – Gov. Chris Christie told Paterson residents that failing public schools and lawmakers unwilling to enact change in the state’s education system are robbing New Jersey’s urban students of a future.
Garnering applause as well as sharp criticism from at least one town hall resident who shouted at Christie to “fix our public schools,” the governor told residents the very lawmakers who represent urban districts are the ones harming their constituents. (more…)
As the premiere urban education reform organization in New Jersey, E3 applauds Governor Chris Christie’s announcement yesterday as part of his 2014 budget address to launch a $2 million school choice pilot program. We have been working closely with our School Choice and Education Reform Alliance, to support this historic decision to make school choice a reality in our state. The Governor and the bipartisan group of NJ officials who support this measure deserve credit for demonstrating leadership on this issue that is long overdue. At E3, we firmly believe that school choice is a critical first step in empowering urban families to break the cycle of poverty and despair in their communities, and it is therefore a prerequisite for addressing in any meaningful way some of the most important human capital, national security and civil rights challenges of our time.
- Christy Davis Jackson
President and CEO of Excellent Education for Everyone (E3)
By John Mooney
Governor vows to fight on, even though proposed $2 million pilot is just a shadow of original, supersized program of 2010
Despite coming close to being passed on occasion, a school voucher program is the one major piece of Gov. Chris Christie’s education agenda that he’s never been able to push through — unlike tenure reform, charter schools, and performance pay for teachers.
Now Christie is making one more run at vouchers in his fourth budget, and his proposal for a modest $2 million pilot is likely to grab the headlines and spark the loudest debate — in an education budget nearing $12.4 billion. (more…)