Before I push ahead to look at Chris Christie's corporate-based education reform proposal, let's recap his distortions, deceptions, and outright lies when laying out his case for the need for reform:
- Christie: Teacher pay increased 5.9% in two years, which is obviously outrageous!
- Here's the Truth: Recent teacher pay raises are well in line with pay raises throughout the workforce. Teacher pay has lagged behind the average wage in New Jersey for years. And recently settled contracts are in line with the decreasing pay found in the rest of the workforce.
- Christie: Teacher salaries in New Jersey are the 4th highest in the nation.
- Here's the Truth: It's completely deceptive to compare teacher salaries without taking into account the cost of living in different regions of the county. When adjusted, teacher salaries in New Jersey are actually comparatively LOW.
- Christie: New Jersey spends more per pupil than any other state.
- Here's the Truth: Again, you need to take regional differences in costs into account when making these comparisons - when adjusted, NJ is NOT #1 in the nation. Further, New Jersey is one of the best states in the nation at equitably distributing school funding between wealthier and poorer districts.
- Christie: New Jersey students show poor achievement, as evidenced by the gap between wealthier students and poorer students, or between white students and black or Hispanic students.
- Here's the Truth: Actually, black, Hispanic, and poorer students do relatively well in New Jersey compared to the rest of the nation. The reason for the "achievement gap" is that white, wealthier (not "wealthy") students do exceedingly well compared to the rest of the nation. Time and again, using many different measure and standards, New Jersey public schools are consistently among the very best in the nation.
Once again: any reasonable and honest governor would be heaping praise on the students, teachers, and parents of New Jersey for the remarkably fine job they do in making our pubic schools some of the best in the entire world. Yes, we have much work to do in bringing poorer, black, and Hispanic students up to the very, very high bar set here in New Jersey; however, we are already making excellent progress.
Chris Christie continues to distort, deceive, and lie about the great things that are happening in New Jersey's schools to push a radical corporate reform agenda. His real motives are to destroy pubic sector unions, make New Jersey's taxes even more regressive, and privatize as many education functions as possible, turning our schools into Halliburton Highs, ripe with money ready for the plucking by private contractors.
He can not be allowed to get away with this.