Friday, February 10, 2017

Commentary on Plainfield Promise

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp's mention Wednesday of a proposal to increase college attendance has raised questions about how it would work.

From his 2017 State of the City Address:

I believe that if every single person had the benefit of a good education there would be ninety percent less crime in the world and I want to do my part to make that happen.

Studies have shown that children who are exposed to financial literacy at an early age grow up to practice sound money management later on and are more likely to be solid achievers.

With this in mind, Plainfield Promise has as one of its goals to establish a bank account with an amount of money (up to five hundred dollars), for every single child starting school in the City of Plainfield. 

You have to sow the seeds today if you want to reap the rewards tomorrow, and this is about changing outcomes for generations.

 The other component of Plainfield Promise throws out a challenge to every high school student in Plainfield. 

If you complete high school and qualify to go to college but cannot afford to do so, we will pay for you to attend Union County College. And if there’s a child who’s more interested in learning a trade than going to a traditional college, we’ll also provide assistance for them to pursue their dreams.

Plainfield Promise will provide funding to assist our young people who have worked hard and deserve the opportunity to explore their full potential; this is the future of Plainfield; this is how we begin to transform the landscape of opportunity and re-create our city. 

Education expands the mind; education fights hatred, education provides opportunities, education opens doors. It elevates and paves the way for change that affects generation after generation. Plainfield Promise will be funded from several sources, the details of which we will share as soon as the logistics are worked out and the program is ready to launch. 

I emailed the following questions to the mayor:

Could you explain the funding mechanism for Plainfield Promise? What would the source be? How would it be administered? Is there any current model in another municipality?

His reply:
We are not ready to release that information as yet. The program is modeled after the Oakland Promise.

That led me to look up Oakland Promise. I found out it is still in early stages, has a broad base of funding commitments ranging from private individuals to foundations and including municipal and school system contributions.

If the program is accurately described, it seems to show a much greater agreement on the need for this particular kind of help and an acceptance of the responsibility to carry it out than may currently exist in Plainfield, where class and race distinctions are frequently invoked. Many taxpayers here may be less inclined to feel they are their brothers' keeper because they are fighting for economic survival themselves.

In addition, Plainfield's educational funding is based on an assumption of high poverty levels here. As one of the 30 poorest districts, Plainfield is said to have an 80/20 percent ratio of outside funding to local taxes raised in support of schools. Accepting the designation of neediness seems to preclude the ability to "do for self" that appears to be implicit in Plainfield Promise. 

The mayor began announcing Plainfield Promise as far back as September 2016 on his blog. By talking about it in the State of the City Address, he is raising expectations as well as concerns that must be addressed sooner rather than later.



  1. Must be an election year.

  2. "I believe that if every single person had the benefit of a good education there would be ninety percent less crime in the world and I want to do my part to make that happen."



  4. It is an election year!!!! Try student loans if your goal is to get an education and pursue a career. I think the more you hand out the more is expected. Children in Plainfield are afforded free pre-K, summer programs and pool etc. and entitlted to the public education from the tax payers. When does it end? City cannot afford to set up bank accounts and monitor them and who has access to it? I believe if every child is raised with values that education is important and you get out what you put into it. Once again parents need to parent

  5. Why did we get an history lesson from the dawn of time? This was an re-election speech, plain and simply, how much money did this cost the city for this side show. and how many more will we have to be subject to.

  6. Everyone does deserves an opportunity to higher education, just not on my dime. The only education I should be responsible for are my offspring’s. My tax dollars shouldn't even be consider for these type of programs regardless of how small the amount.

  7. A very fine way to pay for college is with the ROTC or GI Bill. Learn a skill, see the world and pay for school. 4-Star General Colin Powell joined up because as the son of immigrants he found it difficult to get a job, and ended up advising Presidents.

    1. Well said, Plainfield being welcoming.... The remainder of the tax payers including those who supported the current Mayor,will soon exit. Dirty streets, dirty politics and political jobs. This administration panders to the 2nd Ward clapping seals. We have all witnessed the results of a political/candidate party out of touch with their members.

    2. Apparently you have been living in a cave these last 3 years, this Mayor has "results" like none other in recent history:

      = FINANCIAL HOUSE, in order, surplus
      = CITY HALL, competent, efficient,
      = CRIME DOWN, significantly,
      = UNEMPLOYMENT, record lows
      = QUALITY of LIFE, huge improvements
      = DEVELOPMENT, 300m investment in City
      = TAXES, stabilized
      = RECREATION, like NONE other
      = FUTURE, we are in good hands!

    3. I'm afraid these are positive results that will be denied by those that will not see. I wish folks who are really about Plainfield would continue to move the city forward.

    4. Timothy O'ConnorMarch 2, 2017 at 9:22 PM

      Jim - your bullet points are just that - just bullet points. The citizens of this city deserve substances and complete policies which have not been forthcoming.

  8. Oakland Promise is a scholarship given to graduating seniors. It has no provision for funding bank accounts for each child entering the Plainfield school system. Here is reference:

    Funding bank accounts for minors as proposed by Mapp is another matter, a legally technical and potentially ripe for abuse matter that Oakland Promise was wise to stay away from. However, is it fair to say that this administration seems attracted to things ripe for abuse?

    1. The $500 deposit is explained under the "Brilliant Baby" link on the Oakland Promise web site.

  9. No it is not fair. Look no further then the previous administration.