Will a Vote for Buono Protect Collective Bargaining and Charter School Expansion?

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Bob Braun, former Star-Ledger columnist and current unplugged blogger and cross-poster at Blue Jersey, explains why he’s voting for Barbara Buono today:

I am voting for Barbara Buono because she respects those who believe in the life of the mind. Every governor in the past-Republican and Democrat-has supported the efforts of public school teachers to educate our children. But, now, teachers have been bullied, verbally abused, mocked and ridiculed by a man who is a poster boy for how not to behave. Buono sponsored New Jersey’s anti-bullying law-and, now, for all of us, she is the anti-bully.
Cause I gotta tell you-you know what, punk? I’m tired of you, too.
I am voting for Barbara Buono because, if she is governor, collective bargaining will continue to be the way in which disputes are resolved. Because, if she is governor, millions of dollars won’t be spent on religious voucher schools. Because, if she is governor, the headlong rush into charter schools will be stopped so that our neediest children are not warehoused and segregated in the least-supported schools.

Hold your horses, Bob. Hyperbole has a time-honored place in campaign literature, but so do facts. Here’s a few:

  • Collective bargaining is safe in New Jersey. The Legislature’s 2011 passage of pension and health care benefits premium reform – mandating higher contributions for public workers – did eliminate health care premium contributions from the list of negotiated items during contract bargaining sessions. But that was a bipartisan law, led by Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney, and has been a boon to local school districts, including those that educate our neediest kids. Barbara Buono voted against that law, and she’s proud of that vote. It was a tough one. But it’s turning out to be good for schools and good for kids.
  • Christie couldn’t even get a $2 million, one-year pilot voucher program off the ground this year. I’m not sure how we get from that embarrassment  to “millions of dollars spend on religious voucher schools.”
  • That “headlong rush into charter schools?” During the last three years of the Christie Administration,  the DOE has authorized the approval of 24 new charters and the closing of 10. Of those 24, 18 are in high-needs areas, specifically Camden, Newark, Paterson, and Jersey City. Currently charter school enrollment represents about 2% of NJ’s public school enrollment. Seems to me that charter school growth is pretty modest in NJ.

There’s lots of good reasons to not vote for Chris Christie and lots of good reasons to vote for Barbara Buono. These aren’t them.

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