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Governor Christie & AFT President Weingarten: Everybody Has A Stake In Newark Teachers Contract

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Published on Nov 16, 2012

MSNBC Morning Joe, 11/16/2012. (Transcript Below)

GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: Don't you take a shot at Bradley Cooper.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: We are actually talking about Chris Christie. I think you and I are the only Republicans around here.
RANDI WEINGARTEN: Wait, wait, wait. The governor and I are now going to organize.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Joining us now, the Republican Governor of New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie, and president of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten, and Bradley Cooper.
BRADLEY COOPER: Yeah. Thank you for allowing me to stick around.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: A great movie by the way.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: It is. I can't wait to see it. .
GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: You should go watch it.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Exactly.
JOE SCARBORUGH: It looks fantastic.
MIKA BRZEZINSIKI: Today the Governor and the teachers union will announce a landmark contract offering merit pay bonuses to the teachers of Newark so we can now, the three of us, or the four of us, or the five of us even, actually get along on something here.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: I love it.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: When it comes to education.
GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: Sure.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Which is one of the hot button issues the past two years on this show but this is great news.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: So talk about what happened.
GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: Well, listen, what happened was, you know, the folks in Newark, Cami Anderson, the superintendent, Joe Del Grosso, the president of the Newark teachers union wanted to do something different. Randi and I were supportive of that. We control the Newark school district, the state does. We've taken it over so we're the negotiators, and I think we've all decided that we needed to do something different and not only does it provide merit bonuses and provide advancement based upon merit but it also involves the teachers in the evaluation process as well. And so everybody got around the table and compromised with each other and now have created a system where it's not no longer just seniority or degrees received but now it's how you perform in the classroom, and that evaluation is not just done by the administration. It's done by teachers who are involved as well. Everybody has a stake in it and I think it's going to improve the quality of education across the city of Newark.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Excellent.
BRADLEY COOPER: That's fantastic.
RANDI WEINGARTEN: So what you have here as the Governor said is that you have both experience matters and what you do matter. It's funny to me that people have, like, focused on the one $5,000 bonus as opposed to the comprehensiveness of this new system. So what has been aligned is your work that you do every day. the experience that you carry into the classroom, and input at the school level so that this is a dynamic new contract that's fair -- that's fair to the teachers but most importantly that's good for kids, and that's why it was, when people looked at it, that's why they voted it up by more than 60%. But I want to just say one other thing which is that in all this Sandy happened, and the Governor did an extraordinary job in terms of all the work in New Jersey, and, you know, this is the way government should work, whether it's a collective bargaining table or whether there is a disaster, you have lots of public employees who every single day are trying to make a difference in the lives of kids, the lives of the community, and here you had -- we worked hard at the table to come up with something that was good for Newark.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: So Chris, what are you doing here? I mean, you're hanging out with people in the teachers unions. You're striking deals with the Democratic Legislature.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: It's not going to work with the base, you know?
JOE SCARBOROUGH: You are actually being nice to the President of the United States who is coming to help people who have been ravaged by a historic storm. What are you doing?
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: What's wrong with you?
GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: My job.
BRADLEY COOPER: I knew he was going to say that.
GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: And here's the thing. You know, listen, when Randy and I first talked about this, I guess it was last February, we started talking in Washington, and we were kind of at a stall point with the locals in terms of their negotiating, and I said to Randi, listen, if you really want to do something different, if you really want to try to put merit into this system, I'm willing to negotiate with you, and we would do what we needed to do, and I think that she looked at me and said if you're willing, I'm willing. So I think, Joe, I think what we're doing is we're showing people that I didn't abandon my principles, because I believe merit should be a part of these considerations. Randi didn't abandon her principles or the local, but what we found that boulevard of compromise that exists between compromising your principles, which neither one of us would ever do and getting everything you want which you're never going to get...

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