Protest worse than cause

By Gregory Burr

I am an economics student at the College. In light of recent events, I have dug into the state’s Department of Education’s finance numbers for Trenton. The city spent  $285,038,315 in 2011 and 2012. That $285,038,315 was spent on 13,968 students, which means $20,400 was spent per pupil. All that spending means something like $360,000 is being spent per classroom.

Those protesting Gov. Christie have a valid message, but they act disrespectfully. (Photo courtesy of Julie Kayzerman)

For top-tier private school prices, the citizens of Trenton deserve better than a run-down, mold-infested school. Attaching this money to the student in form of a public scholarship, and thus empowering the parents and students, would be a fantastic option. Trenton is in an emergency situation, and its citizens deserve more than the status quo. School choice is already empowering students and parents throughout New Jersey. School choice is not a panacea, but if expanded it could improve the lives of everyday citizens in the immediate future.

I’d also like to say that I’m disgusted by the conditions of Trenton Central High, but I’m also disgusted by some of my fellow student’s conduct. I support their exercise of free speech; however, once their free speech transformed from an attempt to express their voice to an attempt to silence the governor, I think they crossed a line that distinguishes expressing yourself from bullying another into silence.

They would be well off to read J.S. Mill’s fantastic essay, “On Liberty,” and John Milton’s “Areopagitica,” the great liberal works on free speech.

I will not support or vote for the governor or his opponent in the upcoming election, but shouting down others is not the way to do things. The efforts of protestors are unfortunate because if protestors had kept from shouting down others and were still forced off campus, they would have been in a position to challenge unconstitutional free speech policies at TCNJ.