We can cut property taxes in half, keep your community involved in every neighborhood school, significantly reduce administrative costs and do a better job impacting the lives of every student by making sense out of our convoluted and corrupt public schools. 

For decades, New Jersey lawmakers and governors have failed to address their constitutional obligation to provide a thorough and efficient education to every child in New Jersey but Lisa McCormick will not wait a single day. If school districts have money to spend on multi-million dollar settlements and lawyers, then we can afford to educate every child instead.

New Jersey has some of the best schools in the nation and a few of the worst.

It is time to address the problem of failing schools by consolidating the administration of education under state control, ending our reliance on the grossly unfair and antiquated property tax and empowering teacher to do their job well.

The current system has about 600 school districts duplicating effort and in some cases, failing miserably, due to a wide range of challenges that must be addressed intelligently to achieve improvements. 

We need to restructure the entire school system, insure safe and well-equipped facilities and expand free public education to include pre-K and college, or an alternative training program that qualifies graduates to work in a useful trade. Our existing system of free public education has accomplished many fantastic achievements.

It is also time to stop blaming teachers and trying to undermine their right to union representation, and start trusting them to devise a smart way of educating children facing crisis situations including poverty, violent abuse, or mental health issues and other special needs.

It is also time to recognize that humanity is in possession of more knowledge than ever before so we might need to start with early childhood education and continue until every student is prepared to confront the world as productive citizens. 

The property tax would have to be replaced with a broad based source of revenue, but a graduated income tax or other funding source could the same amount of money more fairly and more consistently than the existing finance structure.

Giving more influence to the community could be achieved by electing neighborhood councils to work directly with school principals, instead of tying up school board members with financial and administrative tasks that often spill over into politics or fail to achieve the level of scrutiny they deserve. 

A statewide educational administration can also get rid of the silly notion that standardized testing does anything except enrich corporations that produce the tests, and New Jersey can break ground as its own publisher of educational textbooks and other online learning material. Technology has advanced our ability to distribute information, secure and protect devices, communicate with each other and access the entire worldwide body of knowledge. That is why every student should be equipped with an Internet capable tablet or laptop computer for performing school assignments.

Education will always be a labor-intensive task but we can achieve better results by ending our conspicuous reliance on old ideas and arcane ways of doing things. Spending on education is an investment in national security and future prosperity. The very best we can do is the very least we owe the children who are tomorrow's leaders and our own survival may depend on how smart they become. 

Teachers, other educators and parents have every right to be suspicious of education reform because previous advocates have used that as a guise for dismantling collective bargaining rights that properly belong to every worker. However, it is time to let go of ridiculous notions about 'home rule' since more than 80 percent of voters chose not to participate in local school elections when they had the chance and many of them knew little except whether they would vote yes or no on the budget. An orderly and fair process for restructuring our schools will rely heavily on the input of professionals in the system and the best minds in academia for guidance on how an appropriate school system should function.

We will be happy to answer any question, so use the comments tool on this page to expand this conversation. No Wall Street billionaire who sent his own kids to private school and has such little respect for the democratic process that he would obscenely try to buy an election is going to be more fair and effective than a proud mother whose candidacy is based on the urgent need for change.

Nobody who lovingly dedicated his or her life to educating our children should trust a greedy financier who spent his life enriching himself while driving 99 percent of the people into poverty. Phil Murphy is Wall Street. Lisa McCormick is one of us!

 

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  • commented 2017-11-20 09:39:13 -0500
    I agree that we can do much better with education, but I am very wary of centralized anything, including education administration. I do believe that municipalities can retain the best of home rule while negotiating shared-services contracts that allow for economies of scale. These could be renegotiated periodically.
    Despite my skepticism, it seems that more people are paying attention to Board of Education elections when they are combined with November elections, showing that people are not uninterested.
    I do agree that relying on such varied and often very high property taxes for school funding has caused great inequities that need to be addressed; Abbott was one method, but remaining that system and redesigning financing from the ground up may in fact be necessary, or at least advantageous.
    You are completely right about collective-bargaining rights, in all professions, teaching included. I have mixed feelings about preK; I support programs that allow one parent to stay home with a child in the early years, but for those who want a preK program, it should be about play, formal learning at that stage of development is premature (even kindergarteners vary in “schoolwork readiness”, for lack of a better term). I agree that very-low-cost, possibly free, college/vocational school education should be available to all.