New Jersey Takes a Huge Step Towards Renewable Energy

by George Tahopoulos

On Thursday of this week New Jersey drastically changed its energy sector. They passed two bills that set new goals for increasing the amount of renewable energy that goes into the state. The deal consists of New Jersey saying that by 2030 they will generate 50% of their electricity from renewable energy. The bill was also passed with a 300 million dollar subsidy to the states remaining nuclear power plants which, some environmental groups are not exactly enthused by this because it starts another argument to whether we should move over to nuclear energy even though the danger is high and it is practically impossible to dispose of the waste.

People like Jeff Tittel the director of the New Jersey Sierra Club think that the bill is purely about the subsidy and that the quota set on renewable energy is a diversion to make you not see what is actually going on. In my opinion I believe that by 2030 most of the country will already be on renewable energy so I feel as if the nuclear industry is not mad about the bill being passed.

All of this is of course in response to President Trump taking us out of the Paris agreement. Since then there has been much outrage in the environmental community and senators have started to take matters in their own hands. This is just one of the 14 states whose senators announced that they would uphold the agreement and push forward on their own.

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New Jersey Debates Charter School Teacher Qualifications

by E. Cohen

A proposal in New Jersey would give high performing charter schools more lee way in concern to the hiring of teachers and principals for the school who don’t have a traditional background in concern to teaching. Various opponents arguments state that it would hurt the quality of the instruction that children would achieve. They also argue that public and charter schools should be held to the same standards. Supporters argue that there is a shortage of teachers in key subjects and that the regulations prevent the hiring of for example scientists, from being brought in to teach the specific specialty subject. It would be the idea of having professionals in the industry be the teachers of those subjects to the charter school students.

The conflict that has emerged according to the article, is the debate over how much freedom the charter schools should have from state mandates. The State board of education in New Jersey is expected to discuss the proposal on Wednesday to decide on the next steps. The five year program if approved would work as follows: The charter schools could hire teacher candidates with bachelor’s degrees who also satisfy two criteria from a menu of four choices: having at least a 3.0 grade point average in college, passing a basic skills test, passing a test of subject matter, and having relevant experience in work or education. The traditional path to becoming a teacher faces higher standards than this with hours of certification needed.

There are many various different arguments to whether the charter schools in New Jersey should face different standards than the public ones, with various political education leaders taking different stances on the issue.

Article by Leslie Brody, “Charter Schools Seek More Leeway in Hiring Teachers.” Wall Street Journal,  January 29, 2017. 

An Attempt to Keep Water Clean in New Jersey

by Wade Dickey

Widener University Political Science Major

Fracking is a highly profitable industry, and a very cheap but efficient way to extract natural gas and oil from the earth. But the drilling and pumping of chemicals into the ground to extract oil causes major harm to our water sources, and that is why the people of New Jersey want fracking to be banned here. The New Jersey State Senate just passed legislation to ban fracking in the state by a 30-5 margin, and is now pressuring Governor Christie to make this into a law as soon as possible. This piece of legislation gained supporters when it was brought to light that fracking waste is already being shipped over to Jersey from Pennsylvania by chemical companies like DuPont. And if we decide to add to that contamination as a state I think it will only harm the people of New Jersey in a long run.

I think this is a good idea to sign this recently passed legislation into a law, because fracking in Pennsylvania has created 1.3 billion gallons of contaminated wastewater and their environment is paying the price for it. We should keep our water sources clean and the environment fracking free.

http://www.environmentnewjersey.org/results/nje/nj-state-senate-passes-fracking-waste-ban-30-5-margin

Romney’s Loss?

by Bridget Hicks

Widener University American Government Student

Election day is tomorrow and voters seem to be siding with President Obama, at least on the east coast. In the aftermath of Sandy’s tragic visit, Obama seems to be the only feasible candidate for to help the country. After the hurricane, the east coast, especially in my home state of New Jersey, was devastated. How is it possible for Governor Christy to spearhead the state’s recovery alone?

Obama paid a visit to the places destroyed by Hurricane Sandy to present his support for the recovery of the towns and people who were distraught by this storm. He came to lend a helping hand to Governor Christy. Where was the other candidate? Where was Governor Romney?

Romney is staying strong with his word. Romney supports more state power, with smaller federal government power. He believes the states should be in charge of disaster recovery. As an in-land resident of New Jersey I was fortunate not to experience the complete and utter destruction in the coastal areas. However, my home, as well as others around me, also experienced destruction. Seeing President Obama going around to New Jersey citizens and offering his support was comforting. Obama is someone I would want to see leading the country. He is a man who is here to help in times of need and does not just assume his role to give states powers that he should also take responsibility for. With the election so close, this trip to New Jersey for Obama was a huge help not only to gain support from the people of the east coast but everywhere. When people hear of this, they think “what would I expect if I were in that situation?” They would want a president who is there for them and ready to come help. Romney seriously damaged his campaign by not coming over to the east coast and acknowledging this disaster while Obama capitalized on this opportunity.