The president of the state’s largest teachers union responded today to Gov. Chris Christie’s characterization of the union leadership as “political thugs,” saying the governor is attempting to draw attention away from his own failed policies.
Christie made the comments during an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer.
“Governor Christie’s name-calling is a tired attempt to draw attention away from the fact that he chose to cut taxes for millionaires, rather than fund the state’s public schools,” said New Jersey Education Association President Barbara Keshishian.
Christie told Sawyer that the layoff of thousands of teachers in the state is a direct result of the union’s refusal to accept a pay freeze.
“They chose to continue to get their salary increases rather than be part of the shared sacrifice,” he told Sawyer.
Keshishian cited statistics from the Office of Legislative services that showed that pay freezes would still have resulted in $850 million in education cuts.
“Once again, Christie is resorting to name-calling because he’s ducking responsibility for his own misguided priorities,” she said. “His cuts to education were so deep – and so harmful to the futures of New Jersey’s students – that a state judge found they failed to meet the requirements of the state constitution. The state Supreme Court is now poised to rule on their constitutionality.”