Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

November 16, 2013

Fact Check: Christie said teacher school funding is highest it's ever been

Chris Christie tells teacher school funding is highest it’s ever been.

Chris Christie’s heard the complaints often.

He cut education funding. He supports charter schools. He’s hard on teachers, and his quest for tenure and other reforms is over the top.

But the governor continues responding to those complaints with various versions of this refrain: New Jersey has the most funding put toward education in state history.

And Christie said it again Nov. 2 during a gubernatorial campaign stop in Somers Point, when he and a public school teacher got into an argument. Christie was re-elected Tuesday.

“In fact, there’s more state funding for education today than any other time,” Christie said when the teacher cited the governor’s education funding cuts for why he has referred to New Jersey schools as “failure factories.”

Technically Christie is right about the level of education funding in New Jersey, but as we’ve pointed out in the past, there’s a bit more to this story that he doesn’t address.

First, let’s get back to that remark about ‘failure factories.’ Christie used it during a speech he gave Oct. 6 to the Orthodox Union in Teaneck, where he promoted his education policies.

“I would be happy to take as many dollars as possible away from failure factories that send children on a no-stop route to prison and to failed dreams, if we could take that money and put it into a place where those families have hope,” Christie said.

Now, to the governor’s point about education funding.

Christie’s proposed fiscal year 2014 budget called for nearly $9 billion in education funding, about $1 billion more than the previous year. Under that spending plan, state aid to schools increased $97 million. While no district saw a state aid decrease, many either received an increase of $1 or their funding stayed the same as the previous year.

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