Gov. Chris Christie continued his normally combative tone toward the teachers union today when asked during a Rider University event with Gov. Mitch Daniels about repairing the relationship with the educators before continuing on with his plans for education reform.
Christie said his attitude toward the union hasn’t changed since he first entered the race for governor.
“I’m willing to repair a relationship that is willing to be productive,” said Christie at the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics. “But my position regarding the teachers union has been the same form the time I got into the race until today. When they are ready to come forward and be participants in meaningful reform that will improve especially urban educational opportunities for our kids then I will sit at the table with them anytime. If they want to continue to pass on to me warmed over protections of the failed status quo then they can continue to stand outside my office and look in the window.”
The governor pointed out that the union has spent $15 million on advertising in an effort to turn the tide of public sentiment against him, but through it, Christie has continued to discount the union leadership even as he praises teachers for their efforts.
Christie has embarked on an effort to reform the educational system in the state, a proposal which includes tenure reform and merit pay, two areas of staunch disagreement with the union. Christie has proposed changing the tenure system to force teachers to continue to be effective in order to keep tenure and be rewarded for that effectiveness. To date, the union has opposed the governor’s reforms, instead introducing their own version of reform, which included an expedited process for hearing teacher disciplinary cases.
Christie dismissed the union’s effort as more of the same.