Governor Christie Wants To Expand Education Options [AUDIO]
Governor Christie continues to push for comprehensive education reform - but not everybody agrees with everything he's proposing. During his latest town hall meeting in Irvington, he said the NJEA's message to parents of children in failing schools is - don't worry, be patient, we'll fix it - "but your patience can't wait forever- the way they make themselves feel better is throwing money at the problem."
He said "we should give parents more options - there shouldn't be thousands of children on waiting lists in charter schools all over this state - we should be opening more charter schools…and we should have the Opportunity Scholarship Act, because you should be able to decide if you want to send your child to another good school - that shouldn't be determined by how much money you have in the bank, that should be determined by your choice as a parent…it is obscene to me that we think a child's life and its value is variable depending upon what town you live in."
Christie vowed "I am not going to stand by silently - no matter how much the teachers union spends on TV and radio advertisements, trying to convince all of you that I am the devil…the children in failing school districts deserve much better than what we're giving them."
When one member of the audience questioned him about school vouchers, expanding charter schools and evaluating teachers, Christie said "there is no perfect evaluation system - there is none - but I am not going to stand up here and allow it to be said that because there's not a perfect system that therefore we don't do anything."
He pointed out "there will always be a certain percentage of children that struggle with school because they're not in a supportive environment at home- because their parents are too busy working, or they're in jail more maybe they're dead…but my problem is that all those things are used as excuses for not wanting to get at one of the things we know we can fix - which is to make sure that we've got a quality teacher in the front of every classroom…it's not going to be perfect - I know it's not going to be perfect, but I am not going to allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good."
The Governor stressed the importance of giving families more options, and he said in failing districts "let children stay at school till 6 o'clock, let them do their homework with teachers, pay the teachers to be there- have a longer school year- let school last till the end of July…we can do better - and it's not about doing perfect, it's about doing better."