The first thing you'll notice is how every claim is about the "achievement gap" between poorer and wealthier students, or about the gap between white students and black or Hispanic students.
Which is bizarre, because his false and/or misleading claims about teacher salaries, education spending per pupil, and total spending are geared toward ALL students. Why doesn't he say anything about the achievement of ALL students in New Jersey?
Because he knows New Jersey's schools are some of the best in the nation (click through for the links):
And so on...
You know, most governors would be crowing about results like these. Most governors would be proud of our kids, our teachers, and our schools. Apparently, however, Governor Christie doesn't think very highly of our kids' accomplishments.
Which gets us back to the "achievement gap." Let me pose a hypothetical:
On National Assessment of Educational Progress for 2009, State A's 8th Graders score a 293 in mathematics (tying for 3rd in the nation). White kids score a 302 (also 3rd); black kids score a 267 (9th). The gap between the two is 34 points (tied for 31st).
State B's 8th Graders score a 270 (tied for 47th in the nation) in math. White kids score a 271 (50th - yes, that's right, LAST in the nation!); black kids a 263 (tied for 17th). The gap between the two is only 7 points (1st in the nation).
So: all of State A's kids do better than State B's. The black kids do better in State A. The white kids do WAY better in State A.
But Chris Christie claims State B is doing better than State A. Is he insane, stupid, lying, or some combination of the three?
Oh, and guess what (I knew you were waiting for this)? State B is West Virginia; State A is New Jersey. Is everyone rushing down the Turnpike to get their kid enrolled in one of those "superior" West Virginia schools?
The reason New Jersey has a higher "achievement gap" is because, although our poorer, black, and Hispanic kids do relatively well compared to the national average, our white and wealthier kids do SPECTACULARLY well! We should be PROUD of this!
Yes, it goes without saying that we need to keep working hard to get black, Hispanic, and poorer kids to achieve more. But the "gap" is not an accurate measure of the success NJ schools have had. The only reason Christie focuses on it is to distort the reform debate.
He wants to implement a radical agenda in ALL of NJ's schools, even though they are some of the best in the nation. He wants completely change the way teachers are paid, evaluated and protected in the workplace, even though these same schools have been, up until now, very successful.
And he's willing to deceive, distort, and outright LIE to his constituents to do it. We can't let him get away with this.