STATE—Independent candidate for governor Chris Daggett rolled out his first in-depth policy initiative, which focuses on fixing the educational system in New Jersey and urged residents to declare their independence from the two party system.
Daggett’s education proposals will put his campaign at odds with New Jersey’s powerful teacher’s union, the 200,000-member New Jersey Education Association.
“It is almost impossible to dismiss a poor teacher, principal or school administrator in New Jersey,” said Daggett. “The costs are enormous, and the legal hurdles difficult to meet. It is also impossible to reward good teachers.”
Daggett proposed a series of reforms for making schools, teachers and administrators more responsible by toughening standards, creating more school options, and improving accountability.
“It is time for a change – a change that focuses on accountability and performance – and that reexamines fundamental assumptions about such institutions as high school graduation tests, tenure, and the public education monopoly,” Daggett said.
According to Daggett, New Jersey’s graduation rate would drop to 24th in the nation without a loophole that allows students to receive a diploma even if they fail the High School Proficiency Assessment, a graduation exam that is an 8th grade level test.
“The SRA (Special Review Assessment) is the lie that underlies our education system—the lie that educators use to tell parents that they have provided a quality education to our children,” Daggett said.
Daggett describes his education reforms as the first of a series of proposals for taking back control of government from partisan politics and special interests.
While his ideas are controversial, Daggett cannot be accused of being unqualified.
The 59-year-old environmental consultant who says neither Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine nor Republican Chris Christie will solve the state’s entrenched problems, Daggett holds a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts.
Dr. Frank J. Esposito, Daggett’s running mate for lieutenant governor, is a former top administrator at Kean University and an early pioneer in developing new school choice programs.
Daggett said the effort to develop his policy proposals was spearheaded by former Commissioner of Education Saul Cooperman, who authored the 1996 book ‘How Schools Really Work: Practical Advice for Parents from an Insider.’
Daggett has extensive public service experience as deputy chief of staff and Department of Environmental Protection commissioner under former Republican Gov. Thomas H. Kean; regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, appointed by former President Ronald Reagan, and chairman of an environmental permitting panel formed by Corzine.
The independent candidate’s entire platform may be found online at http://daggettforgovernor.com
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