Chris Christie on Education
We did it. They said it was impossible to touch the third rail of politics. To take on the public sector unions and to reform a pension and health benefit system that was headed to bankruptcy. With bipartisan leadership we saved taxpayers $132 billion over 30 years and saved retirees their pension.
We did it. They said it was impossible to speak the truth to the teachers union. They were just too powerful. Real teacher tenure reform that demands accountability and ends the guarantee of a job for life regardless of performance would never happen. For the first time in 100 years with bipartisan support, we did it.
Teachers don't teach to become rich or famous. They teach because they love children. We believe that we should honor and reward the good ones while doing what's best for our nation's future-- demanding accountability, higher standards and the best teacher in every classroom.
They believe the educational establishment will always put themselves ahead of children. That self-interest trumps common sense. They believe in pitting unions against teachers, educators against parents, and lobbyists against children.
They believe in teacher's unions. We believe in teachers.
In 1999, 1999: Lobbied for Edison Schools, for-profit school operator The bill capped the number of students who can leave a district for charter schools at 7% of enrollment. Christie asked that the cap not apply to the 31 districts, most of them poor and urban, that were covered by a long-running school-funding lawsuit.
Did the governor cause that? It seems so. The following year, Christie didn't campaign against school budgets, and a larger-than-normal share of them passed--80%, the most in 8 years. Turnout fell by 1/3, though it still topped historical norms.
A: Listen, what I really want is accountability. And I think most great teachers want accountability. I mean the teachers I had in school that helped make me who I am, they would never fear accountability because they knew they were doing a great job, and they watched children develop under their watch. And all I'm saying is that every child in New Jersey deserves the kind of education I got. Every one of them does. And we're paying more per pupil per year than any state in America.
"You are still alive," Christie mocked as he addresses his Old Bridge audience on the day he announced his education reform agenda. "So you've added another year onto your tenure year. So congratulations. Here comes your raise. Now your performance was awful. You didn't do what we asked you to do. You didn't produce the product we wanted you to produce, but we don't look at that. All we look at is are you still breathing. Congratulations! You are still breathing. Open up the back account; here comes the money. Now it's laughable, right? It's what happens every day."
Christie has tried to curtail those huge superintendent salaries by edict, stating that no superintendent should be making more than the Governor. So he invented a sliding scale for superintendents based on student population [and made it retroactive to] February 2011. Several school boards have filed suit because their superintendent's contract was rejected before the salary scale went into effect.
The problems with the No Child Left Behind law are myriad. Several come to mind right off the bat: its dependence on standardized test scores; linking merit pay to test scores; and the goal of achieving 100% proficiency by 2014 is totally unrealistic.
Another huge problem with NCLB that many supporters of the law ignore is that it places no consequences on the students who do not meet proficiency levels. Not once has Governor Christie or any other politician called out students who, in some cases, do not make any attempt at learning. And Christie continually boasts that he tells it like it is.
In an Associated Press report out of Trenton on November 29th after the Philadelphia Inquirer had reported it earlier in the day, it was revealed that NJ failed to gain the $14 million in Federal funds because the state did not have an adequate plan for measuring the success of charter schools. Federal reviewers found other flaws in the NJ application as well. Of the 17 applications considered. NJ was one of only 5 that were denied. If it had been successful, a total of $150,000 would have gone to every charter school in NJ.
No, Booker doesn't have certification as a school administrator. Listening to Chris Christie preach to his town hall audience faithful, one might think that NJ has the worst public school system in the nation. Actually, NJ has one of the best public education systems. Its high school graduation rate (82%) is the highest in the country; its high school students have the highest advanced placement scores; it has the highest percentage of 3 and 4-year-olds enrolled in preschool. Where education struggles is in your urban districts.
If only approximately 5% of
If only approximately 5% of Public school teachers as well as secretaries and some custodians in NJ are granted tenure by state statute after compiling 3 consecutive years of employment. Once a teacher acquires tenure, however, only 4 basic reasons can affect whether a teacher can be fired. Those reasons, listed in state law, include inefficiency, incapacity, conduct unbecoming, or just cause.
Unfortunately, Christie has portrayed tenure as a guaranteed job for life. And the public is quick to pick up on his attacks.
Unfortunately, Christie has portrayed tenure as a guaranteed job for life. And the public is quick to pick up on his attacks. I would hope that Governor Christie would take President Obama's words from his State of the Nation address to heart. "Let's also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child's success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom," said President Obama. "If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child--become a teacher. Your country needs you."
Notice that Obama said "after parents."
Notice that Obama said "after parents."
Over 100,000 students are trapped in nearly 200 failing schools. We need to tell those children, and those families, trapped in poor schools that we are coming--and that before this Legislature goes home we will give them more help toward improvement, more hope, and more choice. We must expand the charter school program beyond the six we approved this year and the 73 operating in New Jersey. That is a top priority. I am ready to work with the Legislature to attract the best charter school operators in America to New Jersey; to increase our authorizing capacity so they can start charter schools here; & to implement the interdistrict school choice law we passed last year.
The result of that is what the former U.S. Attorney calls the "brain drain"--referring to trends that show fewer high school graduates stay in New Jersey for college, and those who do end up leaving after earning a diploma.
Lagging colleges also lead business leaders to see the state differently. Companies seek to have long-term, "intellectual relationships" with educational institutions but might not be able to if schools aren't built up enough to attract students, he said. Businesses need access to practical and research support from colleges, as well as a trained workforce, he said.
All our current government does is simply throw more money at the problem without ever bringing about real change. Change won't come just with more money. That's the easy answer that hasn't worked for far too long. Change will only come with increased accountability and greater parental involvement.
It is a moral imperative to educate our children in every corner of this state. It's time we had a Governor with the courage to provide tough answers for tough questions. Chris Christie will be that Governor.
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AR: Ross(D) vs.Hutchinson(R) vs.Griffin(R,Lt.Gov.)
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