Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Education Reformer Slams Booker, Defends Christie

Here in New Jersey, our governor, the Governor of Accountability and Youtube, is vacationing in sunny Florida with Minnie, Mickey and his family while the state is dealing with Snowmageddon 2010.

The newspapers report Christie hasn't even called to find out how things are going, although Christie's staff say they have been in constant contact with officials in N.J.

Contrast how Christie has dealt with (or not dealt with) Snowmageddon 2010 with how Newark Mayor Cory Booker has handled the mess.

Having laid off 13% of the police force and garnered some real anger from constituents over budget cuts, Booker used to the opportunity the storm afforded to help people dig out of the snow. He even took requests by Twitter. And of course he got plenty of photo ops of himself with constituents in the snow.

Say what you will about political opportunism, that was a pretty smart move on Booker's part, not such a smart move on Christie's part.

But here is an interesting thing - an ed deformer has come to the aid of Christie for staying on vacation with his family during Snowmageddon 2010 and criticized Booker for helping dig people out of the snow:

Jeanne Allen President, Center for Education Reform:

If you've ever lived (or known others who have) in the Northeast, you'll know that unlike Washington, they do not think of snow as a major disaster. On the contrary, it gets plowed, shoveled, plowed again and for the most part, those paid to do the job of making the roads safe do it really, really well.

This isn't a hurricane, or a foreign policy disaster. This is snow. Gov. Chris Christie is not on summer vacation, he's on Christmas vacation and where we come from (I, too, hail from NJ) it's a pretty serious deal, that starts with a high Holy Day and ends with lots of time reconnecting with the family you've probably neglected in months past. That Christie chooses to do that in Disney world with his young family while the state Senate president -- whose kids are long gone -- remains behind, is a testament to his character, not a political mishap.

Cory Booker's tweets have been obnoxious. Would that he'd tweet that much about what the governor is doing on changing state policy to help him dig out of a failing education system that has yet to see a turn around since he began (despite promises and speeches to the contrary).

Uh, Ms. Allen, people died in New York City because of the inability of emergency services to get to people needing them. This storm most certainly WAS a major disaster for many people in many places - especially those who lost loved ones or who almost lost loved ones for lack of emergency response.

New Jersey actually got more snow than New York did and many places were under two-and-a-half feet of snow. Sure, Booker was expedient in his snow photo ops, and no, no one is asking Chris Christie to dig voters out of the snow (he' probably have a heart attack and need his own EMS truck to take him to the hospital), but Governor Christie could have at least gotten off the Space Mountain ride in time to actually call N.J. officials himself and ask how things are going.

What does it say about the ed deform movement that the same tone deafness that Bloomberg exhibited a few days ago over the storm ("Go shopping...go to a Broadway play...) has been exhibited by a member of a major ed deform organization?

You know what I think it says?

It says people in the ed deform movement don't give a shit about human beings, they only care about their free market/ed deform ideologies.

Dunno why the ed deformer is slamming Booker, since he's squarely on the same page as the rest of the deform movement - yet she did.

Perhaps the ed deform movement has decided Christie is their 2012 ticket to ed deform nirvana and are sad that he provided his political opposition with great political advertising material.


  1. From Pat Buchanon's latest column on education. FINALLY an ed. expert tells the unvarnished truth on why the results are not that great in the U.S...

    "Which brings us to "Bad Students, Not Bad Schools," a new book in which Dr. Robert Weissberg contends that U.S. educational experts deliberately "refuse to confront the obvious truth."

    "America's educational woes reflect our demographic mix of students. Today's schools are filled with millions of youngsters, many of whom are Hispanic immigrants struggling with English plus millions of others of mediocre intellectual ability disdaining academic achievement."

    In the public and parochial schools of the 1940s and 1950s, kids were pushed to the limits of their ability, then pushed harder. And when they stopped learning, they were pushed out the door.

    Writes Weissberg: "To be grossly politically incorrect, most of America's educational woes vanish if these indifferent, troublesome students left when they had absorbed as much as they were going to learn and were replaced by learning-hungry students from Korea, Japan, India, Russia, Africa and the Caribbean."

    Weissberg contends that 80 percent of a school's success depends on two factors: the cognitive ability of the child and the disposition he brings to class -- not on texts, teachers or classroom size.

    If the brains and the will to learn are absent, no amount of spending on schools, teacher salaries, educational consultants or new texts will matter.

    A nation weary of wasting billions on unctuous educators who never deliver what they promise may be ready to hear some hard truths."

  2. Will this be the beginning of the end of the honeymoon period between Disneyland Christie and Booker? I hope so.

    Nice punches as usual RBE.

  3. You need to take a closer look at Booker's tendencies as it relates to ed policy. This is a guy who was a founder/ing board member of E3 (Excellent Education for Everyone) notoriously of the "refomer" movement; heavily backed by DFER; used to/still does (?) sits on Columbia's School of Ed board; has no issue with backing "opportunity tax credits/scholarships" aka vouchers; and stumps for all charters without pausing to consider that there are many failing charters in Newark. So before you jump on the Booker bandwagon, beware.