Phil Murphy, former Goldman Sachs executive, DNC finance chair, and ambassador to Germany, has announced his candidacy for governor of New Jersey in 2017.Â Murphy says he doesnâ€™t owe the insiders anything.Â Heâ€™s taking a cue from Trump.
Murphyâ€™s comment about not being a political insider seems a bit disingenuous.Â He was after all part of the Democratic National Committee and served in the Obama administration.
Student loans and college tuition
Murphy sings from Sandersâ€™ playbook where college tuition and student loans are concerned.Â He describes student loan forgiveness provided by employers and the state in varying degrees based on where you work and live.
Murphy does not address the total cost of a college tuition initiative, hinting that it would be placed on employers.Â New Jersey needs to support its community college system. We cannot afford to do so if people live here to take advantage of the benefit, then leave once theyâ€™ve gotten it.Â This writer is absolutely in favor of subsidized public colleges.Â The education, though, must be a completive college education, not an extension of secondary education with social promotion.
Murphy supports a 15-25 cent increase in the gas tax.Â He describes this is necessary to invest in the core essential infrastructure.
There is no question the coffers of the TTF needs to be refilled.Â Murphy is right on that.Â He says nothing about reducing the cost of the NJ highway and public transit systems.
Murphy supports state funding based on needs, which he listed as single parent, eligibility to for subsidized lunches, and special education needs.
Murphyâ€™s words are a restatement of the Abbott plan, which mandates state aid to underperforming urban schools.
Testing in NJ Schools
Murphy opposes PARCC testing for NJ high schools.Â â€œThe era of high stakes, high stress standardized tests in New Jersey must end, and I will see that it does,â€ said Murphy. Â â€œWe must get back to the simple premise of letting teachers use classroom time to teach to their studentsâ€™ needs, and not to a test.â€
â€œThey are outdated, expensive, and not useful to students.â€Â He goes on to say that eliminating PARCC will, â€œEliminate student and teacher stress.Â Create new and innovative tests to track student progress and provide real-time feedback.â€Â He sets out another goal, saying, â€œSave money.Â Adaptive, computer-based tests have been proven to cost a fraction of PARCC.â€
Adaptive testing is great and innovative but thereâ€™s no indication it can be developed and deployed for less than $25 per administration.Â Murphyâ€™s stated goal of reducing stress to students is ludicrous. Â School is supposed to be stressful.Â Without motivation, students donâ€™t learn.Â Reducing stress to teachers is pandering.Â Teachers need to be measured, compensated, and retained based on performance. Time in service is not the way to run the best school system in the country.
Adaptive tests are tests whose questions change based on the correctness of previous answers.Â A test taker who answers questions correctly is posed questions of increasing difficulty.Â A test taker who answers questions incorrectly is posed questions of decreasing difficulty.Â This reduces the number of questions required for a result, but the student gets only one chance to see a question.Â Whether that is more or less stressful I leave you to decide.
Murphy is in favor of raising the minimum wage.
Murphy supports legalization of marijuana.
Murphy is in favor of laws that reduce gun violence. Â What this means in practice remains to seen.Â He has no track record in the state house on which to make a prediction.
Backing for Murphy
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka endorsed Murphy when Fulop pulled out. Â Democratic Party chairmen from Bergen, Hudson, Morris, and Passaic counties have endorsed him.
Murphy has said all the right things to please the NJEA. Â He opposes PARCC testing and its use to evaluatie teachers. Â He pooremises full funding for the teacher pension program.Â That will get him support of all the other public sector unions, too.
Is Murphy serious?
Murphy is very serious.Â He is the first Democrat to declare his candidacy.Â He loaned his campaign $10 million.Â After eight years of a Republican governor, a Democrat has a good chance.
Murphy has a romatic view of government, one would not expect of of a former Wall Street executive. Â He talks of spending as a social imperative but disregards the matter of payment.