Advocates Recommend Action To Improve NJ Education Opportunities

Oct 17, 2017

Cecilia Zalkind and Deborah Poritz discuss their recommendations.

A non-profit foundation that works to improve public policy decisions in New Jersey says prompt action is needed to provide a high-quality public education for all children in the state.

Former Chief Justice Doborah Portiz chairs the Fund for New Jersey. She’s says it time for the state to give the school districts what they are were promised under the 2008 School Funding formula.

“We need to fully fund SFRA under the formula, not in any transition mode anymore, not with transition funding, but fully fund it.”

The foundation also urges expanding pre-school to 109 high poverty districts by 2022.

Cecilia Zalkind, the director of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, says that would cost an estimated $600 million.

“That pricetag may seem daunting, but high quality pre-school is sound long term investment for the state, an important support for disadvantaged children, and a key element of education reform.”

Zalkind says kids who attend high-quality pre-school are better prepared for kindergarten, develop stronger social emotional skills, and are more likely to graduate from high school.

The Fund for New Jersey also recommends the state invest more in colleges to increase the number of residents who earn degrees needed for the good jobs of the future. And it’s calling for strategies to improve college completion rates.

Poritz says all the obligations the state has to fund, don’t leave a lot of money for improvements in education, transportation, and the environment that residents want to ensure New Jersey is a good place to live.

“If you want them, then you had better be prepared to take some pain to look at the fiscal report and say I might want to tax myself because these values are so important to me.”