Christie Calls for More Cuts and Big Changes to Schools
It's no surprise to see that Gov. Christie is showing no signs of slowing down:
Gov. Chris Christie signaled Tuesday that his second year in office will be as full of conflict and wrenching change as his first, calling for more deep cuts in state spending and public employee benefits, and a broad education overhaul that quickly drew scorn from Democrats.
Making his first State of the State address to the Legislature, the governor showed no sign of tempering the aggressive approach to reshaping state government that many of his fellow Republican governors have vowed to emulate. And he indicated that he will continue to focus on public employees — particularly teachers — as he makes his case, arguing that the state cannot afford the gains they have won.
The governor devoted the largest part of his speech to plans that would profoundly alter the way schools operate, including stripping teachers of tenure and paying them based partly on student achievement.
"I demand that layoffs, when they occur, be based on a merit system and not merely on seniority," he said, and that schools have "more power to remove underperforming teachers." He called teaching "the only profession where you have no rewards for excellence and no consequences for failure."
Mr. Christie said that the worst public schools should be closed, reiterated his call for the state to pay private-school tuition for students in failing public schools, and called for a major expansion of charter schools.
Those proposals will be a tough sell in a Legislature controlled by Democrats, many of them closely allied with the teachers' union, and the governor's words drew sharp responses from Stephen M. Sweeney, the Senate president, and Sheila Y. Oliver, the Assembly speaker.
January 11, 2011