WATCH THIS: 5 Things to Know About Chris Christie Ahead of the Education Summit
This video is part of a series commissioned to introduce the political leaders set to speak at the August 19 New Hampshire Education Summit (in no particular order). Watch all videos, and read the complete series, and be sure to watch the Summit live on Wednesday the 19th right here at The74Million.org. More info: EdSummits2015.org
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is one of a half-dozen Republicans confirmed to take part in the Aug. 19 Education Summit in Manchester, New Hampshire. In advance of the event (which will be live streamed here), here’s a quick survey of Christie’s education record in New Jersey, as well as his K-12 platform. (Don’t forget to check out his presidential baseball card.)
Christie in June released a 15-point plan for education reform at both the K-12 and higher education levels. For elementary and secondary education, he called for tenure overhaul, performance-based pay, transitional courses for students who are unlikely to be ready for college courses, greater school choice and more charter schools.
Although his K-12 proposals largely reflect broad GOP principles, his higher ed proposals, some of which overlap with President Obama’s, aren’t as popular, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
Christie has tangled with unions in New Jersey since even before he took the governor’s mansion in 2010. Unions spent $3 million to support Christie’s opponent, according to NJ.com, which has a rundown of the governor’s battles with the unions broadly and with individual teachers from 2010 to 2013.
Christie most recently said the American Federation of Teachers, which has already endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton, deserves “a punch in the face,” The Washington Post reported.
The AFT isn’t in favor of better education for children, Christie said earlier this month on CNN.
“They’re for greater membership, greater benefits, greater pay for their members. And they are the single most destructive force in public education in America. I have been saying that since 2009. I have got the scars to show it. But I’m never going to stop saying it, because they never change their stripes.”
Once a Common Core supporter, Christie grew skeptical of the standards, announcing a commission to study the standards and saying he had “grave concerns” about them. Earlier this summer he announced that he would assemble a group to write new standards for New Jersey, NJ.com reported.
“It’s now been five years since Common Core was adopted and the truth is that it’s simply not working…It has brought only confusion and frustration to our parents and has brought distance between our teachers and the communities where they work,” he said.
The change, however, will not affect the state’s participation in PARCC.
Unlike Bush, Jindal, Walker and Kasich, Christie was not able to create a wide-reaching school voucher program in his state during his tenure in the governor’s mansion.
“We cannot and should not rest,” he said during his 2015 State of the State speech. “More school reform is needed, and a great first step would be to pass the Opportunity Scholarship Act, to give parents a choice of a school that meets their child’s needs. Let’s give families an alternative to chronically failing neighborhood schools. Let’s keep driving for better outcomes. Let’s give parents and students more choice.”
New Jersey lawmakers and unions came to what the Associated Press called a “remarkable compromise” in 2012, making it easier for schools to fire ineffective teachers but failing to end a last-in, first-out policy in the case of layoffs. The agreement also required teachers to have four years in the classroom and high marks on evaluations to receive tenure, instead of just three years teaching.
Although Christie had pushed to end seniority protections and once said he wouldn’t sign a bill that didn’t end LIFO, he ultimately signed the compromise, calling it a “great day for good teachers,” NJ.com reported.
Get stories like these delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for The 74 Newsletter