School Choice Advances in New Jersey Over Petty Teachers Union Obstruction

This is the education story of the month you may have heard nothing about. In light of having recently seen the movie The Cartel, the scene seems especially poignant. In fact, if a sequel were to be made to The Cartel, you certainly can imagine this being a part of it.

The scene is last Thursday in Trenton, New Jersey, at the State Capitol — where a senate education committee hearing was scheduled for the bill S1872, which would create a 5-year pilot scholarship tax credit program. Cue Lori Drummer, writing for the Big Government blog:

When State Senator Ray Lesniak (D-Union), chairman of the committee and longtime supporter of school choice, prepared to call the committee to order, he noted that all of the seats had been taken by New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) members.

The chairman requested that half of the seats be made available for the children who supported the school choice bill. The union members refused to offer the children any seats. (

So, the senators’ desks were moved, and Chairman Lesniak took the committee hearing outside….

Outside? Yes, outside! Three cheers for Senator Lesniak. While students rallied for school choice and opportunity, the teachers union acted selfish and immature. Rather than give in to the NJEA’s petty childlike behavior, the Democratic chairman rose above the fray. The good news, as Lori reports? “The committee unanimously passed the legislation” — which could end up providing scholarships to as many as 20,000 children by the fifth year.

Real school choice in New Jersey? It could be coming soon…. Why not Colorado next?