Over the last decade, total annual State education spending for former Abbott districts substantially increased. The percentage of total State education spending devoted to former Abbott districts has also continually increased, providing a disproportionate amount of State aid to a fraction of New Jersey’s schools.
Former Abbott District Spending as % of Total P-12 Expenditures
62 60 58 56 54 52 50 48
Governor Christie has put forward a Reform Agenda to bring necessary and long overdue reform to the public education system in New Jersey to ensure that every child in our state has access to a great education, regardless of his or her zip code or economic circumstances. The Governor is calling on the Legislature to build on the early progress that has been made with reform initiatives such as the Interdistrict Public School Choice Program Act and the progress of the Opportunity Scholarship Act.
The answer is to focus on accountability, make teacher effectiveness and student achievement the driving forces behind public policies and practices, empower parents with greater school choice, and expand high- quality charter schools. Only meaningful change, not simply pouring more money into a system that is not working, will achieve the results New Jersey’s children deserve.
Taking the first step toward innovation in the public school system demands a focus on accountability. New Jersey needs to attract and retain effective teachers, especially in the state’s most challenging schools and districts.
Today, teacher compensation is determined by years of service or degree and credit accumulation, neither of which accurately measures a teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom. Further, many current collective bargaining contracts stand in the way of efforts to reward teachers who are getting results, pushing limitations or working in challenging environments.