Friday, February 10, 2012

Gov. Christie And His Reformy Friends Are Of Two Minds On Education Spending

Governor Christie has the NJEA back in his sights, but he seems to be gearing for another budget battle with the Education Law Center too.

Christie added the Education Law Center to his targets Thursday, saying the decades of litigation by the Newark-based law clinic has driven up spending on education while hurting results.
“That statement was so appalling and such a window into their philosophy about public education,” Christie said. “The biggest window was as a defense, he’s using it as a defense that he’s a founding member of the Education Law Center. I would hang my head in shame to say I was a founding member of the Education Law Center. That place has done more to ruin education in New Jersey than any single organization I’ve ever seen. (emphasis mine)

I'm practically speechless.  The ELC is the bad guy?  Without them Governor Christie would have gotten away with underfunding some of the poorest urban districts.  The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in favor of ELC and restored $500,000,000 in education funding.  

The Newark-based Education Law Center, which brought the lawsuit against the state, argued that the cuts violated the state's constitutional requirement to provide a "thorough and efficient system of free public schools." In response, the Christie administration said the state doesn't have enough money to spend more on schools and argued that the court should not inject itself into the budget-making process. Conservatives including Christie have fiercely criticized the court's actions over the years, saying justices have mistakenly treated more funding as a cure-all for poor districts' education woes.
"We must acknowledge that money does not equal quality results," Christie said at a Statehouse press conference about an hour and a half after the decision was released.
He once again criticized the court by saying it's wrong for justices to say how the state should spend taxpayer dollars. But he made it clear he wouldn't fight the court order as he suggested during a radio talk show in April.

And then once the funding was restored, the Committee for Our Children's Future, which is headed by three Christie campaign contributors, and includes two of Christie's classmates, Lynn Grone and Bob Teeven, among its officers, ran an ad giving Christie credit for $850,000,000 in new education aid!

Let's review, shall we?  If the ELC is being blamed for increasing education spending then they're "hurting results" and "ruining education," but if Governor Christie is being given credit for increasing education spending then he is "moving New Jersey forward."

You got that?  

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