A top-ranking member of African Methodist Episcopal Church in New Jersey is endorsing Gov. Chris Christie for re-election.

After supporting Democrat Jon Corzine four years ago based on friendship, Bishop Reginald Jackson says he's now backing Christie because of his education policies.

Jackson says he's disappointed Democrats would not agree to put money in the state budget for a pilot program that would have given grants to low-income students to go to better performing schools.

"A quality education is a civil right, and it's sad for me to see my party, which embraced the civil rights movement, now in New Jersey blocking low and minority children from escaping the slavery of failing schools," Jackson said Monday in offering his support to Christie.

Christie says education is the issue he's most passionate about, and he'll continue to push for more opportunities to help children reach their highest potential.

Jackson says even though Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono is his friend, he has decided to backing Christie.