TRENTON, N.J. (AP/WCBS 880) — Gov. Chris Christie has nominated a former New York education official to become New Jersey’s next education commissioner.

Christopher Cerf praised New Jersey’s education system but says the gap between students of economic privilege and those born into poverty remains “a shameful problem.”

Cerf helped New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s re-election campaign.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reports

During his time serving as a deputy chancellor in New York, Cerf promoted charter schools and said if confirmed by the state Senate, he wanted to apply successful charter models in all schools.

“This is often identified as a cliché, but you have to make every decision…around the question of what’s right for children,”

Serf also said he was in favor of school vouchers and giving parents the choice of where to send their kids.

“I am for anything that works. We live in a country where zip code is destiny,” he said.

The 56-year-old went to work for New York public schools in 2004. He closed 90 failing schools and boosted the city’s charter school options during his tenure. He left the deputy chancellor’s post last year to become senior adviser on education for Bloomberg’s campaign.

New Jersey’s Education Department has been led by an acting commissioner since Christie fired Bret Schundler in August after the state lost $400 million in federal education aid.

(TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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