I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christie Criticizes Pro-Voucher Rally (Unless He's a Hypocrite)

This past week, pro-voucher forces in New Jersey bussed kids in from local Catholic schools to rally in support of a school voucher bill. 

N.J. protesters rally in Trenton to support school vouchers

Chris Christie condemned that rally; he thinks it is wrong to take kids out of school for a protest:
"The schools did a lousy job in really permitting all these students to walk out in the middle of the school day. Their parents send them there not to protest. They send them there to learn. And I have no problem with students protesting. They have absolutely every right to exercise their first amendment rights. But they should exercise their first amendment rights either before school or right after school."
Good for the governor! Children should never be used as political pawns...

Oops! Oh, is my face red! See, this is a quote from last year. He wasn't complaining about a pro-voucher rally where kids - many of whom did not know why they were there - were bussed in by adults. No, he was complaining about spontaneous high school student walk-outs in protest of his cutting nearly $1 billion from public education.

Gosh, sorry to get that wrong. But I'm sure the Governor will be as equally dismissive of this rally as he was of the student walk-outs last year. He'll be out with a condemnation of this right away.

Yep, any minute now...

ADDING: Over at Blue Jersey, I pointed out the reporters couldn't even agree on the number of people at this Astroturfed rally. In the comments, huntsu makes the excellent point that the kids at the rally don't need vouchers; they're already attending these schools. What, exactly, was the point of shipping them to Trenton, if only for show?

And if you don't believe this was professionally staged, scroll down to the comments on this piece at NJ Spotlight.


Anonymous said...

The 2,500 figure was part of the official press release written by the high-priced PR firm Jaffe Communications, which "produced" the rally: http://njtoday.net/2011/12/01/2500-supporters-demand-the-state-legislature-pass-the-opportunity-scholarship-act/

Some reporters used that Jaffe manufactured number while others did their own assessment and found that number of Catholic school students bussed in to Trenton to lobby was closer to 500.

By the way, Jaffe Communications prides itself on being able to manipulate the press in this way. Here's what they indicate on their web site is their competitive advantage:

"After working for years as a daily newspaper reporter and executive at a large public relations firm, Jonathan Jaffe recognized a critical void. Journalists were eager to work with PR people who understand the inner workings of the news business and know what exactly news is. And most large, faceless public relations firms comprise people who know how to write catchy slogans, but can’t recognize the timely information that reporters need."

Source: http://www.jaffecom.com/who-are-we.html

Duke said...

Ha! Kind of obvious where 2500 came form when you put it that way.

Great catch - thx.

jcg said...

This rally could be an attempt by privatizers to distract and spread teachers opposition thin. Then they can sneak through legal changes to charters and teacher evals.

Read this excerpt from Crooks & Liars:


"Lee Fang wrote a tremendous article for The Nation a couple of weeks ago about online education and how profitable it is, at the expense of public education. In it, he describes a talk lobbyist Patricia Levesque gave to philanthropists. Among those listening were representatives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Among her suggestions:

Levesque noted that reform efforts had failed because the opposition had time to organize. Next year, Levesque advised, reformers should “spread” the unions thin “by playing offense” with decoy legislation. Levesque said she planned to sponsor a series of statewide reforms, like allowing taxpayer dollars to go to religious schools by overturning the so-called Blaine Amendment, “even if it doesn’t pass…to keep them busy on that front.” She also advised paycheck protection, a unionbusting scheme, as well as a state-provided insurance program to encourage teachers to leave the union and a transparency law to force teachers unions to show additional information to the public. Needling the labor unions with all these bills, Levesque said, allows certain charter bills to fly “under the radar.”