Chris Christie's "Fairness Formula" would radically shift state school aid away from poor urban school districts, which mostly educate children of color, to wealthy white suburban districts. In Newark, state school aid would drop by 69%, decimating all public schools, charter and traditional. Today Tom Moran of the Star-Ledger recalls that when Christie was first elected governor, "he traveled to Newark to spread some love."
(Others may recall when Christie graced the stage set of the Oprah Winfrey Show, clasping hands with [then Newark mayor, now U.S. Senator] Cory Booker and Mark Zuckerberg to announce a cash infusion into Newark's flagging school system.)
Moran suggests that Christie's hypothetical arrival in Newark would be less of a lovefest:
[H]ere's an invitation: Come to Newark, governor. Come hold a public meeting here and explain how city schools are supposed to absorb this blow.
Unless Newark finds a pot of gold, Christie's plan would force the schools to slash their budgets by more than half. Massive teachers layoffs would be inevitable, along with sweeping program cuts.
No school district in New Jersey has ever experienced that level of carnage. And the cuts would be even deeper in Camden.
So come to Newark, governor, and take some questions. Explain again how much you care.
"I'll host it," says Mayor Ras Baraka. "I wish he would. We could do it at NJPAC, and we could have a serious discussion. We invite him."
I bet he doesn't have the guts.