Support Christie's education reforms
Of all of Gov. Chris Christie's attempts at education reform, the Opportunity Scholarship Act is one of the best and most well thought out ideas proposed to date. The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) may be upset about the bill, but the fact of the matter is that program is more than just a "bailout for struggling private schools." Rather, it is exactly what students stuck in failing public schools need.
The bill, which has advanced to the full state Senate, seeks to create a program which would offer vouchers to students in failing public schools. These vouchers would allow these students to attend private or parochial schools instead. Lest any New Jersey taxpayers should cry foul about the use of taxpayer money, funds for these vouchers would not be drawn from the public. Instead, the money would come from corporate donors, who would receive tax credits for their gifts. In this way, there are no losers — only winners.
The students should not have to suffer the consequences of New Jersey's damaged public education system. The Opportunity Scholarship Act would give students a chance to escape from schools which are not adequately educating them or preparing them for life in the real world. Not only that, but in soliciting corporate donations, the government is offering these businesses a chance to give back to their communities. Seeing as the program would entice said businesses with tax credits, it seems likely that many corporations would contribute to this fund. It is about time that businesses start supporting the people who have made them successful.
Given all the positive aspects of the proposed program, it seems the NJEA does not have much of a reason to oppose the Opportunity Scholarship Act. That is, the NJEA should not have much of a reason if they keep in mind all of the good this program could do for New Jersey's students. Despite this, the NJEA is pushing against Christie's reforms with all their might. Maybe the NJEA needs to reconsider its priorities.
The state's public school system has been in trouble for a long time. We're glad that Christie has decided to tackle this serious issue, especially considering how excellent of a plan the Opportunity Scholarship Act is. Students deserve to have a say in where they go to school, and that assertion rings even truer when those students are stuck in failing institutions. We hope this bill makes it through the Senate successfully.