Christie’s vouchers support backed by black ministers

Jul 10, 2013 by

TRENTON, N.J. – Bishop Reginald Jackson and members of the New Jersey Black Ministers Council generally support Democratic candidates in statewide and national elections.

school vouchers 2But Jackson broke with the Democrats yesterday, endorsing Republican Gov. Chris Christie for re-election because the Democratic majority in the state legislature refused to approve the governor’s private school voucher initiative for low-income children stuck in failing public schools.

Jackson, executive director of the Black Ministers Council, made his endorsement at a news conference in the statehouse, while standing with a group of colleagues from throughout the state, according to

Jackson’s endorsement was personal, since the Black Ministers Council is a tax-exempt religious group that cannot legally endorse political candidates. But Jackson is considered one of the more influential black ministers in the state, so his endorsement should carry some weight.

“A quality education is a civil right, and it is sad for me to see my party, which embraced the civil rights movement, now in New Jersey blocking low-income and minority children from escaping the slavery of failing schools,” Jackson said.

Jackson has put his finger on a disturbing point. Too many Democratic officeholders and candidates refuse to oppose the teachers unions, and the unions oppose private school vouchers because they cause students to leave local public schools.

Public schools lose money when students enroll in private schools. That means fewer union teachers employed in public schools and less dues revenue for the unions.

In other words, the unions put employment opportunities and their bank accounts before the best interests of children. That does not work at all for Jackson.

Jackson noted that he supported Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine four years ago, and said he personally respects state Sen. Barbara Buono, the Democrat challenging Christie, but added that her lack of support for private school vouchers cannot be overlooked.

He said he agreed that public schools need to be fixed, but in the meantime someone needs to guarantee a quality education for the children who need it right now.

The state’s public education system has already failed countless students and Jackson doesn’t want to see thousands more left behind.

“(Buono) does not recognize the basic unfairness of making low-income parents wait without a choice for their children,” Jackson said. “I’ve heard the cries of those who criticize this governor about unemployment, increasing poverty and the minimum wage. But I also know the problems they speak about are exacerbated by their policies, particularly regarding education.

“While I agree that the minimum wage should be increased, a good education to get a good paying job is the best way to live above the minimum wage.”

Christie echoed Jackson’s sentiments.

“I absolutely believe it is immoral, an absolutely immoral position to say that children have to wait for us to fix the public schools for them to have an opportunity for a better education and as a result, an opportunity to reach their highest potential,” Christie said. “The fact is I think we need to have a revolution at the polls. Candidly, I think the Democratic Party takes inner-city votes for granted.”

via Prominent black ministers supporting Christie because New Jersey Democrats are blocking school vouchers – powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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