So here we are, well into the summer campaign for New Jersey governor, and Chris Christie is already spouting utter nonsense:
[NJ Governor Chris] Christie said parents must stand up to organizations who he said care more about pensions, wage increases, generous benefits packages and summers off than about extending quality education to all students. [emphasis mine]
Ah, yes: “summers off,” one of the great myths about teachers. Christie loves to bring it up:
The governor told a friendly Bergenfield crowd Tuesday that Garden State students are in need of more hours in the classroom and longer school years in order to stay competitive. Christie blamed special interests with blocking those changes for purely their own personal interests.
“They don’t want a longer school year, they like having the summer off,” said Christie, referring to the adults – not the students – who he accuses of blocking the reforms.
Christie argued longer school days and years are needed to ensure students are educated. [emphasis mine]
Of course, teachers do not get “summers off”: summer is an unpaid, mandatory furlough for teachers, who only get ten-month contracts. Teachers either have to save their money throughout the year to make it through July and August, or they have to get seasonal work, which often pays considerably less than their regular salaries.
However, since the governor himself has brought up extending the school year multiple times, I think it’s well past time the press demanded that he flesh out the details of his plan. To that end, I call on the Trenton press corps to ask the governor and his staff some basic questions:
– Governor Christie, you’ve said previously that you “love collective bargaining.” So you can’t possibly think that teachers will work more days and more hours without being paid more, can you? If you do, how do you expect to impose this without circumventing the collective bargaining process?
– How much longer should the school year be extended? Because your own children attend private schools where the school year is actually shorter than the year in public schools. Governor Christie, if a shorter summer break is better for other people’s kids, why not your own? More…