[NJ Governor Chris] Christie said parents must stand up to organizations who he said care more about pensions, wage increases, generous benefits packages and summers off than about extending quality education to all students. [emphasis mine]Ah, yes: "summers off," one of the great myths about teachers. Christie loves to bring it up:
Of course, teachers do not get "summers off": summer is an unpaid, mandatory furlough for teachers, who only get ten-month contracts. Teachers either have to save their money throughout the year to make it through July and August, or they have to get seasonal work, which often pays considerably less than their regular salaries.
However, since the governor himself has brought up extending the school year multiple times, I think it's well past time the press demanded that he flesh out the details of his plan. To that end, I call on the Trenton press corps to ask the governor and his staff some basic questions:
- Governor Christie, you've said previously that you "love collective bargaining." So you can't possibly think that teachers will work more days and more hours without being paid more, can you? If you do, how do you expect to impose this without circumventing the collective bargaining process?
- How much longer should the school year be extended? Because your own children attend private schools where the school year is actually shorter than the year in public schools. Governor Christie, if a shorter summer break is better for other people's kids, why not your own?
- What will happen in this extended school year? Will it simply be more regular school? If so, where is the research that you have relied upon that shows an extended school year is in the best interests of children?
- Do you expect children to attend summer sessions in classrooms without air-conditioning? If so, will you show solidarity with them by turning off the air-conditioning in your own offices until every child in New Jersey has an air-conditioned classroom?
- The cost of extending the school year includes:
- Wages and benefits for staff to work longer.
- Upgrading facilities to make them useable for the summer months.
- Facilities, insurance, supplies, and other costs to run the schools for the extended period.
- Transportation costs for the extended period.
Governor Christie, do you intend to provide funding for districts to extend the school year? Or is this yet another unfunded mandate on local districts from Trenton? And if you won't provide extra funds, will you lift the property tax cap so districts can pay for this?
Christie has developed the habit off shooting his big mouth off because he's confident that no one will follow through and challenge him on his nonsense. Well, we're in the middle of a campaign: it's way past time for him to start explaining himself.
He has said repeatedly he wants to extend the school year. Will anyone ask him for his plan?
I don't need to answer anyone's questions! Just report my insults to teachers and go away!