David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center, asserts that the “needs” of so-called at risk children trumps the needs of income earners who are forced to subsidize government (taxpayer funded) schools in urban and some rural low income districts. Mr. Sciarra claims that Gov. Christie’s proposal to provide equal state funding for all school children is a reverse Robin Hood policy, because it would “take” funds away from “high needs” children and redistribute it to middle and upper income school districts.
Mr. Sciarra is unabashedly echoing Karl Marx’s dictum that “society” should be based on “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs.” Whether he knows it or not, Mr. Sciarra has internalized the key principle of socialism, government–in this case the State of New Jersey–should tax people who earn sufficient incomes that make them financially independent to support so-called underprivileged or disadvantaged children whose families earn relatively low incomes. (However, in income “rich” Hoboken, state education aid dwarfs that of many modest suburban school districts. That’s fairness?)
The bottom line is that public education has created unnecessary financial, cultural and political conflicts. Gov. Christie’s proposal treats all children “equal.” But the governor’s proposal does not go far enough. We should have that much needed and long overdue conversation about education that would in Mr. Sciarra’s words lead to productive individuals. The current funding formula and structure has been a failure for students who barely graduate high school in four years and leave with poor skills that they should have mastered in 12 years of schooling.
“The governor’s ‘Fairness Formula’ school aid plan would end the Garden State’s longstanding commitment to giving all children an education that will prepare them for good citizenship, civic responsibility and productive participation in the state’s economy.”