Governor Christie, during his latest town hall meeting in Kearny, pointed out his proposed budget for the Garden state provides $8.9 billion for education aid- the largest education appropriation aid in the history of New Jersey.

He also made a point of slamming the New Jersey Education Association for opposing his education reform proposals.

In making a case for merit pay for teachers, the Governor pointed out New Jersey is, "The only place in American life where we don't reward people for how well they do - we just reward people for getting out of bed in the morning…the longer you stay, the more money you make- and it doesn't matter whether you're doing great or you're doing okay or whether you're doing poorly - if you get out of bed in the morning, and you show up, you get more money."

He told the crowd, "I have no problem with teachers having tenure to protect them from political firings or retaliatory firings, or discriminatory firings - they shouldn't be subjected to that- but they also shouldn't be guaranteed a job for life after years and one day, no matter how they're performing in the classroom - so let's make tenure something that you're got to earn and continue to earn."

Christie added, "Let's give teachers merit bonuses - if you're doing particularly more, why shouldn't you earn more? It doesn't make sense to me to have a system that gives no consideration to merit or achievement - the teachers union will tell you if we go to that, it will kill camaraderie in schools - that teachers won't work together if they're competing for merit bonuses - this is where the union degrades their members - the idea is crazy."

The Governor pointed out, "Teachers become teachers not to become rich, teachers become teachers because they want kids to learn - and anything they can do to help a kid to learn they will do if they are permitted to do it…so this idea that somehow, if teachers get merit bonuses - that they won't help each other anymore- that it will kill camaraderie in school - is crazy - see what the union wants to do is keep everybody equal - because if everybody is kept equal , then they need the union more than anything…cause the only way to get raises then, is if the union negotiates it for you- but if you can get a raise based on your own merit, then all of a sudden the union becomes a little less important, doesn't it?"

Christie also said, "You know that the teachers union every year in New Jersey collects 130 million dollars a year in dues from their members…last year they spent over 10 million dollars in negative advertising against me…and they reported that the 10 million came out of reserves, not out of current dues - out of reserves! So they've got that money just laying around …they say that they want more teacher improvement training programs - why don't they spend some of that 130 million on that? They want better health care for teachers, spend some of that 130 million on that - they want a stronger pension system, spend some of that 130 million on that?"

He stressed, "They want it as their political slush-fund, to stop tenure reform, to stop merit pay, to stop charter schools in failing school districts where people don't have an option."

Courtesy Governor's Office