The New Jersey Education Association today began running a radio ad accusing Gov. Chris Christie of “creating chaos in our classrooms” by failing to apply for $268 million in federal funding to rehire nearly 4,000 laid-off teachers and other school employees.
The ad, which is running on New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia stations, points out that New Jersey’s public schools – hit hard by $1.3 billion in state aid cuts since January – are now opening with fewer teachers and staff, larger class sizes, and diminished programs.
“Governor Christie could have applied for this funding on August 13 – the day applications were available – but for some inexplicable reason, he hasn’t done so,” said NJEA President Barbara Keshishian. “So, instead of being able to rehire laid-off staff for the start of the school year, districts will now have to bring them back a week or two into the year. Classes will have to be rearranged, teachers reassigned, and schedules will be disrupted and redrawn.
“This will create chaos in our classrooms, and it was totally avoidable,” Keshishian said. “When it comes to obtaining federal funding for education, this administration has failed miserably,” she said, referring to the state’s recent failure to obtain $400 million in federal Race to the Top money, thanks to a clerical error on the application submitted by the Department of Education.
“But Race to the Top was a competitive grant,” said Keshishian. “This jobs funding is New Jersey’s for the asking. Why hasn’t the governor asked for it? He owes our students, their parents, and 3,900 unemployed educators an explanation for his inaction.”
Listen to the radio spot.