Wants to gut public schools to advance partisan agenda
Published on Thursday, September 15, 2016
NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer released this statement regarding Chris Christie’s transparent attempt to distract attention from his Bridgegate scandal by filing a frivolous legal challenge to New Jersey’s successful system of public schools.
“Chris Christie has done nothing as governor but attack public education. He’s failed to fund the formula. He’s refused to expand access to early childhood education. He’s demonized the women and men who work in our public schools. And he’s proposed a funding scheme that would steal from poor children to reward rich adults.
“Christie wants to gut the best public schools in the nation to advance a partisan agenda that puts politicians ahead of children. He wants to strip funding from New Jersey’s most economically challenged communities to give tax breaks to his wealthy neighbors in Mendham and other communities like it. He wants to eliminate the common-sense protections that keep schools from becoming political patronage mills. He wants to rob educators of the right to help create the working and learning conditions that are necessary for children to succeed.
“Know this: when Chris Christie says he is looking out for the interests of children, he is lying. He’s never looked out for anyone’s interests but his own. He wants to consolidate all power in New Jersey with himself, cutting out the voices of local residents, professional educators, parents and others who know what it really takes to make public schools succeed.
“He knows his legal argument does not hold water. He tried this strategy before in a 2010 challenge to the Abbott decision and it was rejected by the court. This is not a legal strategy. It’s a political ploy.
“It’s no coincidence that he filed this as the heat from his Bridgegate scandal is turning up. He wants the people of New Jersey focused on anything else right now, and he’s willing to destroy the public schools that 1.4 million students rely on just to change the subject. It’s a tactic he’s used over and over.
“He will not succeed in destroying what the people of New Jersey have worked for so many years to build together. We will defend the integrity of our public schools, the interests of our students and the rights of our members against this cravenly political ploy. We are 200,000 members and millions of parents, students and public education supporters. We will win.”