New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said school vouchers are needed to repair a public-education system that has left students unprepared for college and work.
The first-term Republican said he will push the Democratic- controlled Legislature to pass a test program by July 1 that would offer private funding to help parents send students in failing districts to other schools.
The governor has been urging lawmakers for more than a year to approve his proposed education overhaul, which also would institute merit pay for teachers and make it easier for administrators to fire educators deemed inadequate. The voucher program is “the tool that has the chance to get the most change, the most quickly,” Christie said during a speech in Jersey City to advocates of so-called school-choice programs.
“Parents cannot wait for us to get it together anymore,” Christie said. “In New Jersey, we’ve been trying to figure this out for 30 years. We’ve spent hundreds of billions of dollars and we still haven’t got it.”
Christie, who took office in January 2010, has feuded with leaders of the state teachers union over his proposals and has accused Democrats of being recalcitrant on efforts to fix the state’s schools.