General Membership Meeting - Education

Feb 27 2011 7:30 pm

NJ School Legislation: Needed Reform or a Race to the Bottom?

Sunday, February 27 at 7:30pm
Suzanne Patterson Center, One Monument Drive (behind Boro Hall), Princeton, NJ

How will proposed legislation on school vouchers, charter reform and the state budget impact New Jersey’s public schools? Will the legislature go along with Governor Christie’s proposals? New Jersey has outstanding public schools – our students’ performance consistently ranks first or second nationally, and our our public schools attract people and businesses to the state. Major initiatives that would affect our public schools – from budget cuts to an expensive voucher program to erosions of local control – are currently being considered in Trenton. Join us for a robust discussion about potential threats to our public schools and what you can do to support good public education for all of New Jersey’s children.


At the end of meeting, PCDO members will vote on the following resolution concerning a voucher program being considered in the state legislature:



Resolution in Support of Public Schools
WHEREAS we believe that public education is a fundamental right of all Americans; and
WHEREAS support for public schools is a Democratic Party core value; and
WHEREAS vouchers decimate struggling public schools by removing both funding and the easiest-to-educate students
leaving the public schools with a higher concentration of special needs, very poor, and non-English speaking students,
and fewer resources with which to educate them; and
WHEREAS vouchers may violate the First Amendment by diverting substantial public funds to religious schools; and
WHEREASstudies of voucher programs in Milwaukee, Cleveland, Florida and Washington, D.C. have confirmed that
voucher schools do no better in educating low income children than do public schools, and often do worse; and
WHEREAS New Jersey already has an Interdistrict School Choice Program and public charter schools that provide
options for students in under-performing schools; and
WHEREAS A2810/S1872 is a voucher scheme that will undermine NJ Public Schools by diverting between $360 million
and $1 billion tax dollars to fund the daily operation of private and religious schools at a time when the state is cutting
funding to public schools; and
WHEREAS this legislation does not apply any educational standards or accountability measures to the private and
religious schools that would receive the public dollars; and
WHEREAS this legislation does not require private and religious schools to accept any student who wishes to attend,
enabling them to pick those of a particular religion, gender, or sexual orientation; and
WHEREAS this legislation does not require participating private and religious schools to serve special-need students; and
WHEREAS, funds would go to students already attending private and religious schools; and
WHEREAS the taxpayers of New Jersey should not subsidize private and religious schools; and
WHEREAS, privatizing New Jersey public education through vouchers will not improve public education and will result in
hurting our children and the public schools;
Now, therefore, be it resolved on this 27th day of February 2011 that the general membership of the Princeton
Community Democratic Organization vigorously opposes A2810/S1872 (The Opportunity Scholarship Act) and any
other attempt to create a school voucher program in the state of New Jersey.
Resolution presented by Liz Lempert on 2/12/2011 to PCDO Executive Board which voted to recommend adoption by the general
membership. Co-signers include Jo Butler, David Cohen, Jenny Crumiller, David Goldfarb, Margaret Griffin, Callie Hancock, Heather
Howard, Andrew Koontz, Liz Lempert, Ginger Lennon, Peter Lindenfeld, Roger Martindell, Sue Nemeth, Anne Neumann, Dan
Preston, Charles Rojer, Afsheeen Shamsi, Barbara Trelstad, Joan Widner, Kevin Wilkes, Peter Wolanin