NJEA Executive Director Vincent E. Giordano issued the following statement in response to Governor Christie’s comments to reporters:
“Governor Christie has stooped to a new low, even by his own standards. In his personal attack on me, NJEA president Barbara Keshishian and the New Jersey Education Association, he has demonstrated that there is no limit to his willingness to twist, distort and misrepresent the facts in a situation to satisfy his voracious appetite for political vengeance.
“I have no intention of resigning. If he thinks he’s going to bully me like he bullies everyone else, he doesn’t understand who I am, or how deeply I care about the work I do. I have too much important work to do protecting New Jersey’s public schools from the disastrous education policies of this governor. In just two years he has done more damage to education than I have seen in nearly 50 years of service as a teacher and advocate for public schools.
Watch NJEA Communications Director Responds to Christie Comments on PBS. See more from WNJT.
“I serve on the Board of Directors of the Education Law Center, which has fought a 35-year battle to ensure educational opportunities for students in urban schools. Despite Gov. Christie’s efforts to renege on the promise of a thorough and efficient education for every child, the ELC has led the fight to hold him and his administration accountable.
“When this governor slashed funding for urban schools again last year, ELC sued on behalf of children in those districts. The New Jersey Supreme Court examined the facts and ruled his budget unconstitutional. It ordered him to provide over $500 million to students in urban districts to ensure that New Jersey’s vision for equal educational opportunity remains alive.
“The Supreme Court has never had to order me or NJEA to do the right thing by the students in our urban schools. We’ve been fighting for students in urban schools since Governor Christie was a public school student himself. I helped start and serve on the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning which is bringing innovative, life changing programs to students in districts across New Jersey, including Newark, Jersey City and Paterson. NJEA has contributed $4 million to this effort over the last several years.
“While Gov. Christie has prioritized tax breaks for millionaires over funding for children, NJEA has continued to advocate for every child in New Jersey. And we do more than talk, we produce results. Long before Gov. Christie blew into Camden to claim credit for the Urban Hope Act, NJEA was working with the sponsors of that bill to ensure that the legislation would succeed and children would be the beneficiaries.
“It is especially galling to hear criticism over my choice of words from a governor who has called New Jersey students drug mules, told students in Trenton that their teachers did not care about them, threatened to take a bat to a respected female state senator and called a New Jersey Assemblyman “numb nuts” for having the courage to stand up to the Governor on the issue of marriage equality.
“I am proud of my record and NJEA’s record of standing up for innovation in public education on issues ranging from charter schools to magnet schools to intradistrict school choice to Renaissance schools. And I do not apologize for our strong stand against efforts to strip resources from struggling urban schools to subsidize private school operators’ profits, as the voucher bill advocated by the Governor would.
For his abysmal record on education and his hypocrisy in claiming to care about children in urban districts while pursuing policies that have hurt them deeply, I call on Governor Christie to resign from office immediately.”
NJEA’s support for urban schools is ‘unimpeachable,’ says Giordano