Sen. Teresa Ruiz Talks School Funding and DACA
Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D)- NJ, explains how the $25 million of state funds for pre-school expansion will impact programs across the state. The Senator also shared her views on the DACA decision and the negative impact it will have dreamers in NJ, and why she is a supporter of organ donation.
"Welcome to State of Affairs. I'm Steve Adubato. Coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio in beautiful Newark, New Jersey. We're pleased to welcome one of the most prominent members of the State Legislature, State Senator Teresa Ruiz, a Democrat, who happens to be the Assistant Majority Leader and Chair of the Senate Education Committee. Good to see you Senator. Thank you for having me. One of the issues that you have been a leader on, and a whole range of education issues, but one of the ones that we're involved in right now, is part of an initiative called Right From the Start NJ. It's a public awareness initiative dealing with infants and babies and their needs, and you know this professionally and personally? That's right. So my career trajectory started me inside of a daycare classroom. I think you know the story. And that's the first time I really learned the impact that a teacher can have on a child's life. I was fortunate enough to share an academic year with four year olds, and you can see the potential that they have. It was my inability to expose them to much greater things that really prevented them from learning more. And so when I got into the Legislature, my focus was education, and a real fine tuned lens on early childhood. The state of New Jersey has a phenomenal early childhood program, but what we have lacked in is expanding those programs, and really thinking about pre three year olds. What happens from, you know, prenatal care to three before we get 'em inside of a classroom setting. What happens? So... What's going on then for those babies? What... so what is happening, as a mother... And before they're born? Exactly. As a new mother, my daughter will be one in the next couple of weeks. She was being exposed to music. I was reading to her every single day while she was in the belly, and I truly believe that it has a great impact. Science has indicated that already. There are neuroscientists that come out and explain to you that a child's brain is malleable plastic. And if we get an opportunity to mold that, to expose it, to have them express in different ways, the opportunities that we have to really creating a phenomenal human being is extraordinary. But that also requires that the mother has access to high quality healthcare, that she has quality to career programs, that she is in en environment that's safe and secure, and that she has a career pathway herself. And..."