Daily Archives: September 15, 2009

Commentary:In tough times, schools provide hope; Education is the key to economic recovery


Labor Day is behind us, the beaches are nearly empty and school buses are on the road in force. It can only mean one thing: class is back in session for nearly 1.4 million public school students in New Jersey. While I’m sure many of them would have opted for just a little more summer vacation, it is time to get down to the business of learning again. And there is no better place to do that than New Jersey.

This summer brought news that New Jersey’s schools are leading the nation in closing the achievement gap. The work isn’t done, but we are making significant progress. Just a couple of weeks ago, the New Jersey Department of Education released information showing that 99.7 percent of our teachers are rated Highly Qualified according to federal guidelines, with almost no gap remaining between low-poverty and high-poverty districts. And New Jersey still has the nation’s best graduation rate, turning out students who are well prepared for both college and work.

That is the kind of good news we’ve come to expect from our public schools, but it does not happen by accident. It takes a combination of talented teachers and school employees, hard-working students, involved parents and communities committed to public education. Fortunately, New Jersey has all of those in good supply.
We will need all of that and more as we enter a particularly challenging year. Times are tough here, just as they are across the country. The economy is wearing on all of us, and I’m sure that many students feel that stress and carry some of it with them to school.

Fortunately, school remains a place of hope and possibility. Because of our state’s commitment to a thorough and efficient free public education, no child will be turned away from a public school this year because his or her parent lost a job or is struggling to make ends meet. In fact, for many children, school is also a place to get a nutritious meal or two along with an education.

Times like these remind us why public education — true public education — is so critical. It has always been the cornerstone of the American Dream, and the ladder that any child could use to rise above his or her circumstances and secure a better future.

That is why I am so proud to live in a place where that ideal still flourishes. Our current economic crisis has only highlighted the depth of New Jersey’s commitment to its students. In a year when billions of dollars were slashed from the state budget, Gov. Corzine and the Legislature protected public schools, and even increased funding. When students returned to school, they found the people and programs in place to help them succeed.

It was an act of political courage to protect schools when so many important programs and priorities were on the chopping block, and it proved that our elected leaders have a long-term vision for New Jersey. Gov. Corzine has often repeated his belief that investing in education is an investment in New Jersey’s future economic prosperity. He and the Legislature have backed that up with action.

Barbara Keshishian, a mathematics teacher in New Milford, is the elected president of 200,000 teachers, certificated staff, educational support professionals, and retired members of the New Jersey Education Association.

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Filed under affordable education, Gov. Jon Corzine, new Jersey department of education, New Jersey Newsroom, NJEA

Video: District 11 Assembly Candidate Randy Bishop "Outside the Lines"

NJ State Assembly Candidate for District 11 Randy Bishop, was elected to the Neptune Twp Committee in 2004 and re-elected to his second term in 2007. He served as Mayor in 2008.

Randy has a broad range of experience in both the public and private sector as well as in many volunteer organizations and in the following campaign video he states that “If we are going to solve problems like property tax relief,affordable housing, job creation, we need to change the behavior in Trenton…”, by teaching them how to color “Outside the Lines” :

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Filed under 11th Assembly District, campaign video, Mayor of Neptune, Neptune NJ, Randy Bishop

Booker Sits Down With Colbert And Talks About "Brick City"

Last night on the Colbert Report, Newark Mayor Cory Booker sat down with Stephen Colbert and talked the City of Newark and the new documentary ” Brick City” which will be presented on the Sundance Channel next Monday at 10 pm.

Colbert asks Booker why he is “docu-bait”, Brick City is the second documentary to feature Booker in the past few years. For those who do not know what “Brick City” refers to, Newark has long been call the “Brick City”.
The mayor of Newark answered by saying that Brick City wasn’t just about him, but about a number of unique, grassroots folks and characters that every day, who fight to make sure that the city reaches it’s full potential.
Mayor Booker also discusses the decreasing crime rate within the city and how the quality of life for residents has steadily increased.
At one point during the interview, Colbert points out that as a “Lefty Liberal” the ACLU has given Booker a grade of “C” and asks Booker to remind him, not to visit Newark on St. Patrick’s day because they have arrested individuals for public urination.
The mayor answers by giving Colbert permission to pee in Newark… as long as he uses a urinal!
Watch it:

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Filed under ACLU, Brick City, Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, Newark NJ, Stephen Colbert, Sundance Channel, The Colbert Report

Poll: Among All Registered Voters Corzine has Over taken Christie

In the latest Monmouth University/Gannett Poll released Sunday, Governor Corzine has for the first time overtaken his opponent Chris Christie, in the race for New Jersey’s governorship.

Among all registered voters polled, Jon Corzine has a lead of 41% to 40% over Christie. This is significant since Christie had a 4 point lead among registered voters in the August poll and a 6 point lead in July.
the results also indicate there is a lot of churning in this electorate. Despite the incumbent’s continued unpopularity, there is still a sense that anything can happen.” said Patrick Murry the poll director .

Amog likely voters however, Christie still holds the leads over Corzine 47% to 39 %, but Christie’s lead is down 6 points from the advantage he held in August when he led Corzine 50 percent to 36 percent.

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Filed under Chris Christie, Chris Dagget, Gov. Jon Corzine, Monmouth University / Gannett New Jersey poll, Patrick Murry

Number of New Jerseyans without health insurance dropped by 11 percent in 2007-08

The newjerseynewsroom.com published an artilce today detailing how the number of New Jerseyan without health insurance dropped more than 11 percent thanks mainly to the efforts of Governor Corzine and the NJ Health Care Reform Act of 2008, which he signed into law in July.

The NJ FamilyCare Program is a free or low-cost program for income-eligible families. A family of four earning up to $77,175 or 350 percent of the federal poverty level, can qualify to insure their children for about $130 a month in the state and federally funded program.

Below is an excerpt from the Tom Hester’s column at the newsroom followed by a video released earlier today by the Governor’s office which announced the remarkable drop in the number of uninsured New Jerseyans:

“The number of New Jerseyans without health insurance decreased by more than 11 percent or by 147,000 individuals, the second largest reduction in the nation between 2007 and 2008, Gov. Jon Corzine said Monday.

At the same time, the number of uninsured in the United States rose by 1.5 percent, according to a U.S. Census report on the income, poverty and health insurance coverage nationwide in 2008.

Corzine credited what he described as aggressive initiatives aimed at enrolling the uninsured for the declining New Jersey rate. He also credited the decrease to the landmark New Jersey Health Care Reform Act of 2008 that he signed into law in July, which expanded health insurance eligibility and provided more access to affordable health insurance for children.

“Families cannot build a strong economic future for their children without stable, secure and affordable health insurance and that is what our administration has been working to accomplish,” Corzine said.

“In New Jersey, we are setting the national standard to ensure our families have secure and affordable health care and our children have a healthy start in life. We have ramped up our enrollment efforts and worked fervently by expanding NJ FamilyCare to include a child mandate. We said, ‘No,’ to the Bush administration when it tried to cut 10,000 kids out of New Jersey’s Family Care Program and we have implemented a new Express Lane option to reach and enroll every eligible child. Providing access to affordable health insurance and expanding eligibility has and will continue to be a priority of my Administration.”…”

Read more >>> Here

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Filed under Gov. Jon Corzine, health insurance, low-cost, New Jersey, New Jersey Newsroom, NJ FamilyCare, poverty level, Tom Hester