JERSEY CITY, N.J. (May 4, 2012)—Newark Mayor Cory Booker today struck an enthusiastic tone and called for a renewed engagement in the fight to give educational options to families in need during the American Federation for Children’s third annual National Policy Summit.
Mayor Booker, a second-term Democrat, told the hundreds in attendance that the future of the country depends on effectively educating today’s children.
“We cannot have a leading democracy if we have a lagging school system,” Booker said. “I stand here today as a guy who does not accept that we will not be the leading nation on the globe.”
Booker has been a longtime supporter of the Opportunity Scholarship Act—which would create a scholarship tax credit program for New Jersey students in failing schools—and he once again today voiced his support for the legislation’s passage. The mayor said that his strong support for school choice stems from the options that he has been afforded in his own life.
“I cannot ever stand up and stand against a parent having options, because I have benefitted from my parents having an option,” he said.
The rousing speech came at the end of the American Federation for Children’s two-day Summit, which brought together leading advocates, policymakers, and business leaders in the fight for school choice.
The Summit began today with an address from noted author and commentator Juan Williams, who spoke of the importance of empowering parents with the right to choose the school setting that best fits their child.
“Nobody knows better than a parent what’s best for their child,” Williams said.
On Thursday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie opened the Summit with a speech to over 350 attendees stressing the need for comprehensive education reform. That same evening, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal echoed that call for his own state, just weeks after he signed into law a bill that will expand private school choice to as many as 380,000 students statewide.
The event also included panels featuring a bipartisan group of state legislators, as well as business leaders, public school officials, and the nation’s leading school choice researchers.