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Governor Christie: Not About Teachers

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Uploaded on Jun 3, 2010

Governor Chris Christie gives remarks regarding Teachers and the New Jersey Education Association during a Town Hall Meeting in Robbinsville, N.J. on Thursday, June 3, 2010. (Transcript Below)

Governor Christie: This is not about teachers in New Jersey, because I think in the main teachers in New Jersey get into this business because they want to help kids, and they feel rewarded by the progress their children make. They feel challenged by the moment of teaching a child a new concept that they know they're going to be able to use for the rest of their lives and that they get a great sense of satisfaction out of that. My argument is not with teachers in New Jersey. My argument is with a union who collects—think about this now: I'll leave you with this: $730 a year from every teacher and school employee in the union in mandatory dues, and if you don't want to join the union, here's your option: you can be out. You pay 85% of $730 to be out. It's like the Hotel California, you know? You can check in any time you like but you can never leave, all right? That raises for the teacher's union—get ready—$130 million a year. What do they spend that money on? An army of lobbyists in the Statehouse—believe me, every time there's a bill that regards public education there's five lobbyists from the teacher's union sitting in there staring down those legislators in case they dare to disagree. What does it spend—what do they spend their money on? $6 million—you've seen it and heard it. $6 million in negative advertising against me since March 16th. Think about that. That's a little over two months, 2 ½ months. They have spent $6 million on New York TV and radio, Philadelphia TV and radio to attack me. That's dues money that is coming from their teachers, mandatory, no choice, and from all of you, because those salaries come from your property taxes and your state income taxes. Now if you don't think this is a screwy system I don't know what is, and so I don't argue with teachers. I think in the main there's bad lawyers, there's bad doctors, there's bad accountants, there's bad auto mechanics, and there's bad teachers too. But luckily in each one of those categories they're the minority. The overwhelming majority of teachers are really good people who care deeply about their kids and want to do a good job. But the teacher's union is about the accumulation and exercise of raw power, and they call me a bully. They had this big rally where they called me a bully and had all kinds of signs about me at the Statehouse a couple Saturdays ago, and see I don't understand what they mean, because this is how I define a bully: see, I just got to the schoolyard in January, and I walked into the schoolyard and I saw a whole bunch of people on the ground bleeding, and I saw one standing. That's the bully. The bully's the one that's standing when everybody else is on the ground bleeding, and what they've been used to is governors coming in and looking at that scene and saying hmm. Do I want to be on the ground bleeding or do I want to be upright not bleeding? And most governors have said I'll be upright not bleeding. I said you punch them, I punch you. That's the fight. That's the fight. The fight is about who is going to run public education in New Jersey. The parents and the people they elect, or the mindless, faceless union leaders who decide that they're going to be the ones who are going to run it because they have the money and the authority to bully around school boards and local councils. So listen, I know I won't make myself the most popular guy in the world by having this fight, but we don't win this fight, there's no other fights left. This is the fight we got to fight. This is the fight we have to win for our kids. So when they say it's for the kids, 4 and 5% increases, free health insurance for life ain't about the kids. This is about the kids. So thank you all very much. I appreciate it.

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