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

Friday, June 28, 2013

Will Anyone Ask Chris Christie Some Real Questions?

So here we are, well into the summer campaign for New Jersey governor, and Chris Christie is already spouting utter nonsense:
[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:
The governor told a friendly Bergenfield crowd Tuesday that Garden State students are in need of more hours in the classroom and longer school years in order to stay competitive. Christie blamed special interests with blocking those changes for purely their own personal interests.
They don’t want a longer school year, they like having the summer off,” said Christie, referring to the adults – not the students – who he accuses of blocking the reforms.
Christie argued longer school days and years are needed to ensure students are educated. [emphasis mine]
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!


giuseppe said...

Any union people who vote for Christie should have their heads examined. Oh wait, here's a headline from nj.com:
Christie picks up more labor union support, puts off labor council. http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/06/christie_picks_up_more_labor_union_support_puts_off_labor_council.html#/0
Sadly some construction unions have thrown their support to Christie and support his re-election. Incredibly sad and it says a lot about unions in the USA these days.

Mrs. King's music students said...

These are darn good questions, however I think the answer is what you said in the first place - there is nothing on the table about genuine reforms in education yet - we're still rattling swords.

Heads-up on "Trenton press corp". They've got nothing. The kids over at The Times print 'what Coach Ditka tell them to done'.

walt sautter said...

If I remember correctly, all year schooling was proposed in Dover about fifteen years ago.
Who vehemently opposed the idea ?
The parents!
It never happened!!