[Marxism] Words are cheap
lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Apr 8 13:58:50 MDT 2006
If we want every child to succeed, our schools must be devoted to giving
all children the skills to excel at leading institutions like the College
of New Jersey.
Let me say I know I have been fortunate in life. I benefited from the
support of my family, and the encouragement of my community. Terrific
public schools opened the doors to greater opportunities than I could have
Because of access to a quality education, I have lived the American Dream.
Now like all New Jerseyans, I want everyone to have the same opportunity to
make the most of their talents fulfill their dreams. That's why I entered
public life, and that's why I am running to be New Jersey's next governor.
With the right learning experiences, I believe every child can achieve that
NY TImes, April 8, 2006
Corzine Wants Poor Schools to Make Do With Less Aid
By DAVID W. CHEN
TRENTON, April 7 Signaling a willingness to tackle one of the most
contentious issues in New Jersey politics, Gov. Jon S. Corzine announced
Friday that he would ask the State Supreme Court to freeze financing for
the poorest school districts because of budgetary constraints.
The amount of aid in dispute, roughly $160 million, is not that significant
in a budget of $30.9 billion. But the significance of Mr. Corzine's move
was not lost on anyone with a legislative, legal or an educational role in
the long-running school-financing lawsuit, Abbott v. Burke.
At the behest of the court, the state must give 31 so-called Abbott
districts, which include large cities like Newark and Camden, but also
smaller places like Gloucester City and Pleasantville, enough financial aid
to bring them up to spending levels in the wealthiest districts.
In recent years, as fiscal woes have mounted, the state has essentially
frozen the level of financing for those districts not covered by the
decision. Abbott districts, meanwhile, have had a little more flexibility.
But now, with the state facing a deficit of more than $4 billion, Mr.
Corzine, a liberal Democrat who took office in January, is asking the
Abbott districts to essentially live by the same guidelines now hemming in
suburban districts at least until a new school-financing formula can be
"I have called upon state officials at all levels to reduce expenditures
and to find ways to do more with less," Mr. Corzine wrote in a statement,
which was released late Friday afternoon. "I expect nothing less from local
municipal and school officials."
To Mr. Corzine, the decision was a politically risky one that demonstrated
his determination to tame the state's finances, no matter how unpopular.
His budget calls for an increase in the sales tax, a new tax on hospital
beds and more than $2 billion in spending cuts. His poll numbers have
plummeted as a result.
But in the wake of the Abbott brief filed by Attorney General Zulima V.
Farber on Friday, Mr. Corzine was hailed by Republicans who have long
criticized the Abbott system as being outdated, unfair and in need of an
"He absolutely deserves credit," said Assemblyman Bill Baroni of Mercer
County. "It's Nixon going to China. Only Nixon could go to China, and I'm
confident that only a Democratic governor could have had the intestinal
fortitude to do this."
Assemblyman Joseph R. Malone III offered a similar opinion, saying, "I have
to applaud him for having the courage to do this."
But to Democrats and advocates for the poor, particularly in urban
districts, Mr. Corzine's action was bitterly disappointing and almost
tantamount to a betrayal.
"What Governor Corzine is doing is unprecedented," said David G. Sciarra,
executive director of the Education Law Center, which represents the
plaintiffs in the Abbott case, a group of urban schoolchildren. "He's
asking the court to force districts to make fairly substantial cuts in
programs, cuts and positions in schools that serve New Jersey's poorest
students. We will oppose this."
Mr. Corzine's move was not shocking, because he had said in his budget
address that he would keep education aid flat. Still, the reality of a
41-page brief, replete with blunt language about the state's dire fiscal
condition, and the problems besotting the Abbott system, resonated loudly.
And the fact that the Corzine administration released the brief late Friday
a slot usually reserved for grim or bad news did not escape notice
among supporters and detractors, as well.
Whether the application actually passes muster with the State Supreme Court
is another matter altogether: The Abbott lawsuit is one of its signature
decisions in the last two decades.
So from a legal perspective, both Mr. Baroni, who is also a law professor,
and Paul L. Tractenberg, a Rutgers law professor, said that it was unlikely
that Mr. Corzine would prevail. But Mr. Tractenberg said that nothing was
"I believe that the governor has made it pretty clear he is taking a pretty
hard line across the board on his various budget proposals," he said. "And
if you get beyond the budget politics, the state doesn't have a very strong
argument. But the court reads the newspapers like everybody else and knows
that the state is in very serious trouble."
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