When it Comes to Education, Buono is Is No Hypocrite

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Paul Mulshine is in a tizzy. Gubernatorial candidate Sen. Barbara Buono is fervently opposed to school choice programs that provide vouchers to private or parochial schools for poor kids, yet Buono’s running mate, Milly Silva, went to – you guessed it – private school because her mother exercised school choice and got her a scholarship to the exclusive Spence School on the Upper West Side. (I reported on this a month ago.)

Oh, the hypocrisy!

After graduating from Spence, Silva went to Columbia University. Now she’s running for Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey. Maybe that would have happened even if she had attended the low-performing school in the Bronx to which she had been assigned based on her residency. Maybe not. Anyway, her mom’s a heroine who knew the stakes.

Back to Mulshine. He attacks Buono for opposing vouchers, although there’s no law that says that running mates have to clone each other’s education platforms. He derides Buono’s education proposal, estimated to cost $3 billion: hey, expanded preschools, full-day kindergartens, and full funding of NJ’s School Funding Reform Act (which has happened exactly once, in 2009) is an expensive proposition.

He writes,

Buono did indeed go to public schools, but both Silva and [actress Kerry] Washington [who appeared at a rally with Silva and Buono] got their head starts in life due to private schools. Why do they want to deny other kids the same shot at an elite education?
Politics, that’s why. The ticket needs the money and votes of the teachers’ unions.

It’s not that simple an equation. Certainly, the money and votes of NJEA members are substantive and powerful, but not enough to get Buono over the hump of Christie’s edge in the polls. And  Buono has  been a consistent opponent of school vouchers, charter schools, and other forms of educational options for kids, well before the governorship was a gleam in her eye. I can’t remember an instance in which she expressed approval for anything other than full funding of SFRA. She’s always been a strong advocate for expanding preschools.

You may not like Buono’s opposition to school choice or her carefree plans to increase school tax levies. But she’s no hypocrite.

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