My favorite new blogger, Darcie Cimarusti, made a great catch today:
An Asbury Park Press reporter detailed a heated exchange between Governor Christie and one of those four vocal residents, Alan Erlich of Cherry Hill about the Governor’s relationship to Kahn:But after Erlich charged the charter school’s approval was a favor for a Christie supporter, the governor denied the claim.“Who are you talking about?” asked Christie, who went on to say he does not know Amir Khan, a pastor who is organizing the school at a church complex in the Ashland area. “I haven’t given one friend a charter school.”The exchange is already memorialized on YouTube, like so many other clashes between Christie and audience members.
What may make this one particularly interesting is that just after Governor Christie says he doesn’t know who Amir Khan is, the camera pans back, and who is sitting behind Governor Christie on the dais? Amir Khan. Sitting right underneath the “Jersey Comeback” banner. Here is a still:
Truly brilliant from Darcie - but that's not the entire story...The woman sitting to Khan’s left is his wife; pastor Aughtney Khan, also a founder of Regis Academy.
The pastors Khan, founders of the Regis Academy Charter School, sitting not just in the audience, but on the dais behind the governor, makes it awfully hard to believe that Regis Academy was not one of only four approvals in September because of pastor Khan’s connections to Rev. Jackson, the Black Minister’s Council and Governor Christie himself. Especially with his repeated pronouncements yesterday that not only does Cherry Hill not need a charter school, he has told Acting Commissioner Cerf that charters should be focused predominately in failing districts. Oh, and let's not forget, he has no say in what charters do and don't get approved? Then why was Regis Academy approved in Cherry Hill?
You see, Pastor Khan has more on his mind than privatizing education. He's also worried that two people who love each other might be able to enjoy the same rights all married couples have:
This video is courtesy of the controversial but intrepid tweeter @DefeatNJBullies. I haven't always agreed with @DefeatNJBullies, especially when it comes to his/her harsh criticism of teacher unions. But he/she is a passionate defender of teachers in New Jersey, and he/she made a great connection.
Because when you go to 2:47 in the clip, you'll see a woman stand up and shout "Hallelujah!" followed by tears of joy at the defeat of the 2010 marriage equality bill in the NJ Senate. Who is this woman?
None other than Aughtney Khan: the co-counder of Regis Academy and wife of Amir Khan, the man sitting directly behind Chris Christie.
Immediately following is a clip of Amir Khan himself, reveling in the joy of denying all people the opportunity to enjoy the most basic of all civil rights:
"Feels great! Feels like, you know, I just finished a wrestling match and they just picked my arm up and said 'you won!' (laughs)"These are the people who are now entrusted with the education of the young in New Jersey. People who are so enthralled at the thought of denying marriage to gays and lesbians that they lead the campaign to stop any attempt at marriage equity.
This college dropout will now have the opportunity to take the $2.8 million the good people of Cherry Hill and other towns set aside for the education of their children and use to it to educate kids however he sees fit. What lessons do you think will be imparted on these youngsters? What values do you think these charter-schooled children will hold once Khan is done with them?
The privatization of education is not merely about profit - although that's a big part of it. It is also about destroying the American values of tolerance, plurality, and mutual respect. The people who buy into the reformy agenda dream of a world where those who like GLBT people send their kids to one school, and those who would rather not bother their beautiful minds with such things send their kids to another place.
It's disturbing and disgusting and chilling. And it's forcing us to make a decision:
Are we one nation, or not?