Chris Christie’s Education Plan Is Shocking
n Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made a speech that sounded commonsensical. “No child in this state is worth more state aid than another,” he said. He suggested equalizing per-student education funding across New Jersey so every public school, whether in a suburb or city, receives $6,599 in state aid per child. “Every child has potential. Every child has goals. Every child has dreams. No child’s dreams are less worthy than any others,” Christie said.
This might sound like a civil rights speech—a plea to provide more opportunities to the neediest kids. In fact, if enacted, Christie’s proposal would amount to a huge giveaway to the children and families who are already thriving in New Jersey while hurting the kids who most need a leg up. With this plan, the governor hopes to lower taxes and end a state program that sends extra money to schools that educate at-risk children. Lest you have any doubt about whom Christie is trying to protect with his “equalization” plan, consider the fact that although his proposal would cut supplemental funding for poor children and English language learners, it would continue to send extra money to children with learning disabilities—a group, unlike the other two, that is majority white.
Here’s how Christie’s proposal would work in practice: Hillsborough Township, the leafy suburb where he delivered his speech, is 78 percent white, 8 percent Latino, and 5 percent black. Its education funding would increase by 86 percent under Christie’s plan. In high-poverty Newark, which is 84 percent black and Latino, funding would decrease by a devastating 69 percent.
That a member of the Republican presidential nominee’s inner circle has made such a proposal is frankly terrifying. Christie’s plan is a deeply regressive one that would overturn a half-century of bipartisan consensus that poor children need extra educational resources.
American public schools are funded in a few different ways. Nationwide, the federalChris Christie’s shockingly regressive education plan.: