New Jersey is getting new academic standards, primarily because former Common Core cheerleader Chris Christie cares deeply about local control in education:
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.
This statement is, of course, taken from the governor’s May 28th remarks to an audience at Burlington County College in Pemberton. Many of my initial reactions to Christie’s Common Core about-face have already been documented by New Jersey parents and educators (see here for Marie Corfield’s round-up of relevant posts and articles) who recognized the move as political pandering to the worst degree. This morning, however, Christie gave everyone who’s watching more material to work with.
And, not surprisingly, it isn’t pretty.
See, Future Presidential Candidate Chris Christie wants us all to think he believes that that parents and educators are the ones who know what’s best for children–and that the government, starting with President Obama, should stay out of decisions that should ultimately be made locally.
But today, Christie reiterated his belief that there are some people in New Jersey who can’t possibly be trusted to know what’s best for their own schools–and those people live in Newark.
A little background: on May 22nd, thousands of Newark students walked out of school in protest of the reforms Chris Christie and his ilk have imposed on the city’s public schools. Students ultimately made their way to City Hall, where they demanded fair funding for the district and a halt to the turnaround program that will affect eight city schools.
At an appearance in Belmar this morning, Christie was asked about the students’ protest–and this was his response:
It’s really shocking to me that students walked out in a protest on a sunny Friday afternoon. When they start walking out on a rainy Tuesday, maybe I’ll take it a little more seriously. They can walk out and protest as much as they want. […] No, I’m not changing my position on this.
That’s right, folks: Future Presidential Candidate Chris Christie is listening to his constituents (ask yourself “which constituents?”) about the Common Core–specifically because “the standards were not developed by New Jersey educators and parents.” But when thousands of students organize a protest (and I can’t be certain, but I’m guessing they can’t take credit for making sure it was sunny on Friday) against the reforms of which they say they’re victims every single day, Governor Christie makes a joke about their motivations and then admits that he did not take their actions seriously. (What was that he said about “buy-in” being important for “maximum achievement”?)
In other words: You matter, Not-From-Newark-New-Jerseyans. Chris Christie is listening to you. Your opinions count. You are best equipped to direct the eduction of the children in your state and in your community.
But if you live in Newark, Chris Christie won’t even *think* about taking you seriously unless you demonstrate your dissatisfaction for state control of your schools by walking out during a rainstorm. On a Tuesday.
Mark that one on your calendar.
Because those people don’t know what’s best for their community. Chris Christie does.
“I don’t care about the community criticism. We run the school district in Newark, not them.” —Governor Chris Christie, 9/3/13