Public Schools Are Not All Integrated—And Lack of Integration Makes All Students 'last'
Because of how our school districts are laid out some of our regions function as "separate but equal" districts. Separate but Equal, we've known since Plessy Vs. Ferguson, is not equal. It makes sense for New Jersey to proactively address where it functions with a segregated-school reality and to come up with redistricting that allows students of all races and ethnicities, and all economic strata, to be educated in public institutions together. Redistricting, with the use of creative models of magnet schools, would spread school funding in more appropriate ways, and would allow students to move freely within a larger district for focused educational opportunities.
Public Schools, and Their Teachers, Have Been Treated Last, So They Shall Be First
Public schools must be protected as an essential public good. My Administration would make sure teachers are honored and their voices heard. I would push to remove student standardized test scores from teacher evaluations and I would work with teachers to make sure that the creativity that put you in the classroom in the first place still can be implemented within the school day.
My Administration would put a moratorium on the building of new Charter Schools that are not run by democratically elected school boards or held to the same standards as public schools.
To support schools means to fund schools. Despite the School Funding Reform Act of 2008, the current governor has failed to find money to fund the formula any year but one during his time in office. Fully funding the School Funding Reform Act would be a priority of my administration. This would, of course, look different if redistricting were to occur in the state of New Jersey.
Negotiations between teacher's unions and the state, during the previous administration, have resulted in more costs for teachers (toward health care) and no increases in salary. The lack of appreciation for teachers, shown through not playing fair with negations, must stop.
To support schools means to celebrate schools. It is time to confront the lie that our public education system is failing America. It is wrong that for-profit companies, and out-of-touch billionaires (both liberal and conservative) run media campaigns, and political campaigns, that suggests public school is a failed experiment. New Jersey, under a Kaper-Dale administration, would celebrate and honor public schools again.
Higher Education Has Been Last, So It Shall Be First
Higher Education is key to shaping a well-rounded, educated citizenry. While STEM related professions are certainly important, the imbalance in funding directed at STEM (from the federal government and private industry) suggests that state government should particular emphasize social sciences, humanities and the arts. As governor I would seek to encourage more balanced state funding and support across all disciplines.
Scholarship that happens in collaboration with communities (civic scholarship) needs to be encouraged. State-wide programs for professors/researchers to work together across disciplines to shape policy and help serve the community should be celebrated as real and legitimate scholarship. My administration would develop a policy supporting public scholarship that would increase funding to those departments who share their social and humanitarian research with the public.
My administration would seek to increased funding to curb the use of non-tenure-track part-time lecturers and to instead push for more full-time positions with benefits and union representation across the state.
Young People in New Jersey Struggle to Pay for University, and the Loans Make Them Last
The cost of college and university means that those who seek to prepare themselves so as to contribute needed skills to the world do so to their own peril. Many students find that the loans they pay for school almost equal a second rent. A Kaper-Dale administration would increase state support for programs like the Education Opportunities Fund, a proven program of financial and academic supports, that helps students with high economic need, and maybe some additional academic supports, to thrive. Also, the proposed state-run public bank would be set up to make very-low-interest loans to students. Lastly, NJ Medicare for All would save universities millions of dollars from their budget. It would be the goal of a Kaper-Dale administration to see the savings on health care go directly into the reduction of tuition across the board.