Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey and Donald Trump supporter (and possible his VP nominee), proposed an education funding plan that would divert funds from underfunded inner-city public schools to well off public schools.
The plan advocates for equal state funding or a flat rate funding to all students, regardless of the amount of funding the student already receives from local property and income taxes. Under his proposal, each New Jersey student would recieve a flat rate $6,599 from the state; this excludes special education students, who would receive more funds.
What exactly does this mean?
Poor school districts, where parents can only afford to rent property and not own property, will see much needed “extra” state funding removed from their school budgets and sent to districts where spending per student already far exceeds the per student spending in poor districts. I placed the word extra in quotations because even with those state funds, the inner-city schools still can’t provide students with a decent quality education. Students in these poor districts will see a decrease in the quality of education because districts and schools will be forced to fire teachers, aides and cut back on after school programs, extracurricular activities and classroom resources.
Meanwhile parents in the well off school districts will see a decrease in property taxes (meaning they bring home more money to their families) and an increase in the amount spent per student. A Rutgers University preliminary analysis featured in the New Jersey Education Policy Forum lays out how the already well off schools and families will benefit from this proposal and how the poorest schools will evidently be the losers (This report also disproves Christie’s claim that the 31 poorest schools have not in proved under the current funding plan).
According to Christie, this proposal will help ease taxation on middle and upper class families, while forcing lower class famlies to spend (or not spend) what they simply don’t have. He said that middle and upper class families have been footing the bill for 31 of the state’s poorest schools for years, but to no avail. Christie is essentially saying “now is the time for those middle and upper class families to take their money back and these poor schools, these poor, communities, these poor parents, these poor children will simply need to fend for themselves.”
According to Christie, for these low-income school districts “Failure is still the rule, not the exception…That is an unacceptable, immoral waste of the hard-earned money of the people of New Jersey.”
This is an attack on the beauracratic public school system. I understand that public schools are entrenched with wasteful policy spending, however, it makes no sense to decrease funding for these students. The obvious reason is that a decrease in funding will only increase their chances of staying in poverty. The cycle continues. But that’s not governor Christie’s problem or concern. How the hell is this proposal fair when it ensures that students in these low-income schools will make due with inadequate resources? It makes no sense.