Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Julie Larrea Borst: Why is NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney throwing New Jersey’s students and our public schools under the bus to help Governor Christie? | Blue Jersey

Why is NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney throwing New Jersey’s students and our public schools under the bus to help Governor Christie? | Blue Jersey:

Why is NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney throwing New Jersey’s students and our public schools under the bus to help Governor Christie?


This Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on two new appointments to the State Board of Education, the entity that has final approval over many key education policies in our state.
Until recently, Christie’s appointees constituted a majority of the Board and they consistently towed the Administration’s line, approving terrible ideas like using the PARCC standardized tests as a graduation requirement. In the last few months, however, a couple of Christie’s appointees have shown some independence. In combination with attrition of some hard line Board members, this has resulted in the State Board no longer being a predictable rubber stamp for the Governor’s education agenda.
In an effort to regain control of the State Board, Governor Christie has nominated a slate of new Board Members to six year terms. However, he needs approval by the Democratically controlled Senate Judiciary Committee in order to place those nominees on the Board. That is where Senate President Sweeney comes into the picture. The Senate President has the power to move Christie’s nominations through the committee or to ignore them.
There are five empty seats on the State Board of Education, three of which have been open for years. There is no requirement that any of those seats be filled before the next Governor takes office.
With a Democratic Governor very likely to be elected next fall, it is difficult to understand why Senator Sweeney has decided to advance two of the State Board nominees put forth by a Republican Governor with a 17% approval rating, whose education policies are opposed by the majority of our state.
Could Sweeney be using the State Board appointments as a bargaining chip in some broader negotiations with Governor Christie? Or perhaps stacking the State Board with Christie appointees, who are likely to be antagonistic to the teacher’s unions, is a tactic in Sweeney’s ongoing war with the NJEA?
Whatever his true motivations, it is clear that the Senate President is not being guided by the welfare of our children, who are just collateral damage in Sweeney’s broader political calculations.Why is NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney throwing New Jersey’s students and our public schools under the bus to help Governor Christie? | Blue Jersey:

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