By Peggy McGlone, The Star-Ledger


But six months after Christie’s bold proposal, the state has no formal plan to extend learning time. A $5 million innovation fund that would have helped pay for new programs was a casualty of a late-spring budget crunch. A separate $1 million fund for after-school and summer programs for at-risk students remains.

It is a subject that has been discussed for years, though finding the additional money, and convincing parents and teachers to give up summer vacation, are the major challenges.

Following Christie’s speech, leaders of the state’s teachers unions were skeptical. The American Federation of Teachers New Jersey president Donna Chiera called it a political gimmick, while NJEA president Wendell Steinhauer questioned the governor’s motives because Christie had just vetoed a bill creating a task force to study mandated full-day kindergarten, which would dramatically expand learning time for tens of thousands of students in districts with half-day programs.


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