Education Faceoff – Democrat

By Jennifer Sorensen

Education is vital to the development of every student, from preschool to higher education. Gov. Jon Corzine recognizes this, and that is why public education is one of his top priorities for New Jersey. Our job market is expanding, and higher education is evolving into a necessity — not a luxury — in order to obtain employment. This means that more and more jobs in our country now require more than high school diplomas or even associate’s degrees to land a decent paying job. This November, the choice is clear: When it comes to education, Gov. Jon Corzine is on our side.

Corzine has made major investments and structural changes in New Jersey school districts — and the numbers prove that the investments paid off. Since Corzine has been in office, New Jersey has led the nation with the highest rate of high school graduates, and our public schools have been considered the best in the nation for preparing students for life after high school. He increased the state’s standards for math, reading and science; after all, New Jersey’s high school graduates are the most prepared for college. Corzine also expanded preschools to include 30,000 additional students. However, Chris Christie, the Republican candidate in the gubernatorial race, referred to preschool programs as “babysitting” during a recent interview with NJN’s Steve Adubato.

Despite cutting the state’s budget in massive amounts, Corzine still managed to increase funding for education by $300 million — thus proving that he, too, sees education as a complete necessity for all residents of New Jersey. Overall, Corzine has increased funding to education by $1.8 billion in the past four years. This year, Corzine also worked with President Obama to incorporate $2 billion of stimulus funds into New Jersey school systems. This put a stop to layoffs and program cuts in schools that would have had dangerous effects on our students and their ability to obtain a quality education. Chris Christie stated that he would have rejected those stimulus funds had he been governor, despite the fact that rejecting them would have increased the financial burden that higher education places on college students and their families.

As a result of all of Corzine’s extensive educational reforms, the New Jersey Education Association, better known as NJEA, has endorsed his candidacy for governor. NJEA represents more than 200,000 educators in all levels of schools state-wide. This endorsement is a clear representation of Jon Corzine’s determination to better our education system for the current and — most importantly — future teachers of this great state. Corzine’s running mate, Loretta Weinberg, has also been endorsed by NJEA because of her relentless support for education, namely increasing funding to public schools and higher education institutions. This November, the choice is clear: The Corzine-Weinberg team is crucial for college students, their families and the future educators of New Jersey.

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