TRENTON – One of the prime supporters of the Opportunity Scholarship Act fired back today at its opponents.
Sen. Tom Kean Jr., (R-21), Union, said that OSA’s detractors are defending an unacceptable status quo.
“The only people abandoning public education are those who say that we should keep kids trapped in a failing school for fear of change,” he said in a release.
Earlier today, a coalition of OSA critics issued an attack on the proposed legislation in case it should resurface during this lame-duck session of the Legislature.
Sharon Krengel, the Policy and Outreach coordinator for the Education Law Center, one of OSA’s main foes, said this afternoon they have been hearing primarily rumors that even a watered-down pilot-OSA program “may not have juice’’ in the lame-duck session, but they wanted to publicly re-emphasize their position as a pre-emptive strike.
But Kean struck back against the OSA critics.
“While I respect and support the concerns for proper funding of and investment in public schools expressed by OSA’s opponents, one is hard pressed to say that the schools in question lack adequate funding when they spend more per pupil than almost anywhere in America.
“The fact of the matter is what we’ve been doing in these areas hasn’t been working, and it is the students who pay the price.
“I do not believe it is acceptable to tell children that they must remain at a disadvantage to their peers in other districts while we engage in the process of ‘fixing’ their school. Even with the most diligent and innovative reform measures, chronically failing schools will take time to turn around because they are beset by long-term, structural and societal problems that will not be fixed overnight.”