The grown-ups in Trenton are trying to get things done, and that means having to just ignore the cry-babies as they pout and stamp their feet:
Political theater in Trenton reached new heights today as lawmakers advanced a school choice bill in hearing that was moved outside after a leading lawmaker publicly tangled with the state’s largest and most powerful teachers union.
While hundreds of private and charter school students staged a rally in support of the measure outside the Statehouse Annex, the New Jersey Education Association members packed the hearing room to show their opposition. That upset Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Union), who wanted to free up some seats for supporters, much to the NJEA’s chagrin.
“They said, ‘We’re not moving,'” Lesniak said. “So I said, we’ll have it outside.”
Statehouse staff carried out desks and chairs for senators, and the hearing was held in front of hundreds of demonstrators under sunny skies.
In the end, the Senate Economic Growth Committee unanimously approved the bill (S1872), which will provide scholarships for students to attend private schools.
So while a bipartisan effort to bring real change to our state’s educational system is winding through the senate chamber, the NJEA does what it does best–act like complete douchebags, making the issue a political one as opposed to being about educating disadvantaged students. The very same students that the NJEA claims to care so much about.
Let’s make it clear, that this school voucher bill is being shepherded through the legislature with bipartisan support. Politicians from both sides of the aisle are joining with civic groups to bring about real change here.
Only two explanations come to mind. First, the state of our education system must be in much worse condition than any casual observer is being led to believe. For this sort of cooperation to take place, things must really be desperate. Better late than never.
Secondly, nobody can overestimate the effect that Governor Christie is having on the political environment here in the Garden State. He survived whatever vile and malicious crap the NJEA threw at him during the budget battle earlier this year (including a union moron wishing death on the governor), and although he took a hit in the polls, it obviously hasn’t fazed him.
He’s making such a name for himself, he’s beginning to get noticed in larger circles.
Christie is tackling the nation’s worst state deficit — $10.7 billion of a $29.3 billion budget. In doing so, Christie has become the politician so many Americans crave, one willing to lose his job.
Indeed, Christie is doing something unheard of: governing as a Republican in a blue state, just as he campaigned, making good on promises, acting like his last election is behind him.
The crux of this opinion piece is that Christie is making a name for himself in national Republican politics, the implication being he will run for President one day. A possibility? Definitely.
But he has a boatload of work to do here in Jersey first, and he’s doing a much better job than I ever thought he would. So here’s hoping he stays put.