Christie isn’t helping
Jackson Bangs | Sunday, November 13, 2011
I noticed an ad in The Observer on Nov. 11 for Gov. Chris Christie’s keynote on “Educational Innovation and the Law.” The ad states that the governor of New Jersey is “advancing an ambitious campaign to ensure that every child in the state has a chance to succeed.” Nothing could be further from the truth. As a New Jerseyan who went through the (excellent) public school system and who has a mother who teaches in it, I have watched incredulously as Chris Christie has chipped away at the education system.
Mr. Christie (who’s own children attend private school) began his tenure with a vicious attack on schoolteachers. The governor has made clear his belief that teachers, traditionally thought of as underpaid, well-educated professionals, are overcompensated. He has, in his combative style of speaking, insulted the profession repeatedly as he pushed forward laws restricting their collective bargaining rights.
The Governor has also slashed funding for schools. This is understandable to some degree, given the budget crisis state has faced. (He has, of course, refused to raise
taxes, but that is another issue.) However, he has cut aid unevenly, slashing court-mandated aid to poor urban districts, while allowing smaller cuts to wealthy suburban enclaves. Lashing out at the state’s Superior Court, the governor has ousted certain members of the court, which could lessen its willingness to challenge him.
The administration bungled its Race to the Top application, foregoing a chance for $400 million. Typically, Christie passed the buck to his Education Commissioner, angrily asserting that he did nothing wrong.
I look forward to hearing Mr. Christie explain how all of these things further our education system.