A New Jersey lawmaker wants to require school districts to provide a textbook to every student.
State Sen. Ron Rice (D-Essex County) says his bill is intended to help students learn.
“In districts like Newark and others, particularly the big districts, a lot of the students don’t have books and we’re like well what are we paying for?” asked Rice. “How do you teach a kid if there are no books, they’re sharing books? How do you give homework if there are no books?”
The Senate Education Committee approved Rice’s bill, but state Sen. Mike Doherty (R-Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren Counties) voted against it.
“When boards of education are trying to save money and keep costs as reasonable as possible, it may make sense to have certain students in certain classes share textbooks,” Doherty said.
There is a cap on school budgets, but Sen. Rice says failing to provide every kid with a textbook is not the place to save.
“I just figure when you have caps on school budgets, even though we have a cap on things, that the money is supposed to be going to the classroom. To have school systems in New Jersey where every kid does not have a book for the subject class, to me doesn’t make any sense and doesn’t make sense to parents, to taxpayers.”