So let's not pretend for a second he's started now:
And so, today, I am directing the Commissioner of Education, David Hespe, to begin immediately to assemble a group of parents and educators to consider developing New Jersey educational standards – New Jersey College and Career Readiness Standards.
I want New Jersey parents and teachers to be the driving force behind the establishment of these new standards. I want New Jersey business partners, New Jersey school administrators, and New Jersey school boards to work together in this important effort.
I have heard from far too many people – teachers and parents from across the state – that the Common Core standards were not developed by New Jersey educators and parents. As a result, the buy-in from both communities has not been what we need for maximum achievement. I agree. It is time to have standards that are even higher and come directly from our communities.
Where do I even begin?And, in my view, this new era can be even greater by adopting new standards right here in New Jersey – not 200 miles away on the banks of the Potomac River.
- "Not developed by New Jersey educators..." When did Chris Christie ever care what teachers think about anything? When he put together his Educator Effectiveness Task Force, he included only one working teacher, and no members of the largest teachers union in the state, the New Jersey Education Association.
The task force issued a report so incoherent and so unworkable it has led to the current, disastrous teacher evaluation system I call Operation Hindenburg. Had Christie actually bothered to include us teachers in his plans, he may have developed something that could have helped schools and students. Instead, he has set the state up for a lawsuit the first time a teacher is fired, because the current system is innumerate.
No politician in the history of New Jersey has listened less to teachers than Chris Christie. It's absurd that he pretends that he wants educators to be involved in any aspect of education policy.
This is a man who compared us to drug dealers, told us we were greedy, told our students we didn't care about their learning, and said we only care about having summers off. Now he worries we haven't had "buy-in"?!
No politician in the history of New Jersey has done more to demonize and denigrate the teaching profession than Chris Christie. The thought that he is suddenly concerned that we haven't had enough "buy-in" is laughable.
- "It is time to have standards that are even higher..." But who cares about having higher standards if you aren't willing to pay what it costs to achieve them?
- "...and come directly from our communities." Maybe Christie was on another one of his many, many, many, many out-of-state trips and he missed it, but the largest student protest this state has ever seen happened in Newark this week, literally shutting down access to and from the city. Why?
Because the good people of Newark -- as in Paterson, Jersey City, and Camden -- have been completely disenfranchised when it comes to the governance of their schools. Just today, Mayor Ras Baraka demanded the removal of the hugely unpopular State Superintendent in Newark, Cami Anderson, based on her incompetence, mismanagement, and record of failure.
This egregious disdain for democracy and self-rule is blatantly racist:
It's worth noting, however, that local districts across the state have had to deal with Christie's meddling for years. The imposition of the onerous PARCC exams this year was a huge unfunded mandate, as was the previously mentioned new teacher evaluation system. Now Christie wants to shirk his responsibility to fund teacher pensions and force local districts to make up for his own inability to balance New Jersey' books.
No politician in the history of New Jersey has done more to destroy local control of schools than Chris Christie. The man who personally appointed Cami Anderson and took over Camden's schools has no business pretending he cares about what "our communities" think.
New Jersey's intensely segregated schools have thousands of students living in poverty, or who don't speak English at home, or who have special eduction disabilities. The state itself passed a law, after great debate, that dictates the costs of educating children with these special needs. Yet every year, Chris Christie has refused to fund this law, with profound consequences.
As of now, New Jersey schools are a collective $7 billion behind what the law itself says they need to adequately educate our children. But Christie refuses to collect the revenues necessary to fund this law, wasting funds instead on fruitless tax gifts for corporations that have done nothing to improve our state's economy.
No politician in the history of New Jersey has done as much damage to the finances of our schools as Chris Christie. It is sickening to watch him call for higher standards when he refuses to do his job and fund our schools properly.
I'll get to the Common Core stuff in a bit. For right now, though, take a minute and think about how utterly hollow Chris Christie's words are. Think back on his previously education proposals, and how they were nothing but naked political ploys, utterly devoid of substance.
America, take it from those of us living in Jersey: this man doesn't care one whit about the Common Core, or education standards, or anything having to do with school policies. Chris Christie's sole interest in education policy is in its worth as a political tool: a tool to diminish the strength of unions, demonize public workers, and shift the focus off of his own many, many failures as governor.
When the Bridgegate scandal blew open, Christie decided to unveil a useless initiative to lengthen the school day and year, hoping to get the press talking about anything other than his out-of-control staff. It never went anywhere -- and why would it? Once it had served its purpose as a distraction, it went away.
There is a serious debate to be had about the Common Core -- but Chris Christie really couldn't care less about the issue. So long as he harbors delusions of gaining of national office, this man will use New Jersey's education system in any way he thinks will gain him political points.
In a sane world, anything Chris Christie says about education policy would be ignored.