Tuesday, August 4, 2015

.@GovChristie He-Man Woman Haters Club Part 2

While attending the NEA Representative Assembly (RA) in Orlando last month, I posted Part 1 of this series after the Essex County Education Association staged a very successful protest rally outside Gov. Christie's campaign kick-off event at his alma mater, Livingston HS. The social media memes followed, and this one caught my eye:

Yes, he really said that to a woman at a public event. Go to Part 1 to see the video. To this day, I still don't know why that comment didn't torpedo his career (and people complain about the 'liberal media'). It's vulgar and disgusting—especially coming from a sitting governor with White House aspirations. But apparently enough people in NJ liked that kind of crass talk enough to elect him twice. Go figure.

Right now Christie's feeling the heat. Not to be trumped by Trump as the King of Mean, and desperate to make the cut for this week's debate, Christie needed some additional press, so he took to the airwaves and lashed out at his favorite target: women—particularly educators, saying he wanted to punch the national teachers union in the face:

Aside from the fact that he's wrong about that endorsement (AFT endorsed), Christie's national education policy includes punching three minority women in the face: NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia (Hispanic), Vice President Becky Pringle and Secretary Treasurer Princess Moss (African Americans). And I'm sure he probably wants to punch AFT President Randi Weingarten, too. Nothing says leadership like abusing women!

So, why does Christie hate women—particularly women educators—so much? He says,
Because they’re not for education for our children. They’re for greater membership, greater benefits, greater pay for their members. And they are the single most destructive force in public education in America. I have been saying that since 2009. I’ve got the scars to show it. But I’m never going to stop saying it, because they never change their stripes.
Ahhh... if only the facts bore that out. You see, out of the 70 new business items we wrote and approved at the RA last month, the majority had to do with social justice (including poverty, racisim and discrimination), LGBTQ issues and improving educational outcomes for students. And by the way, what's wrong with advocating for greater benefits and pay? Corporate executives do it all the time. So do the major sports teams' players associations (aka, unions). But I guess that's ok so long as you get to hang in the owner's box during the games. Yes, nothing says happy, productive workers like slashing their salaries and benefits!

So, again I ask: Why does Christie hate educators? I'm no professional psychologist, but his relationship with his mother can't be ruled out. After calling Democratic Asm. Reed Gusciora (an openly gay man) 'numbnuts' during the battle over same-sex marriage in NJ, Christie said it was no big deal, and that his mother—an NJEA member and a Democrat for much of her life—used to call him that. Is that all she called him? 
"[L]et me tell you, there’s a lot of other adjectives that I could have used that would have been a lot less appropriate..."
Such as...? The fact that he admits he was holding his tongue is rather disturbing. There is more than enough research proving that many behaviors are learned, and that the abused often grow up to be abusers unless they get help. Educators see the 'apples and apple trees' (good, bad or otherwise) analogy in our classrooms every day. 

When anyone—from a presidential candidate on down to a little kid—resorts to name-calling and bullying it's a sign of weakness and insecurity, not power and leadership. That person needs help, not a national stage on which to continue their sick attacks. As Wendell Steinhauer said in his response, "Chris Christie has no credibility as a leader and he is an embarrassment to New Jersey... [H]e is a terrible role model to the children that our members work so hard to protect, nurture and educate."

Other bloggers quickly responded.
Diane Ravitch:  
So here is a thought experiment for Chris Christie:
Which states are the highest performing in the United States?
Answer: Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
Question: Do these states have teachers’ unions and collective bargaining?
Answer: Yes.
Question: Governor Christie, can you name a non-union state that is high-performing?
Answer: (silence)
Bottom line:
Teachers’ unions advocate for higher teacher salaries, which is good for teachers and ultimately for students because their schools have happy, experienced teachers; teachers’ unions advocate for reduced class sizes, which is good for teachers and immediately for students; teachers’ unions advocate for better working conditions, because working conditions are also learning conditions; teachers’ unions advocate for greater public investment in public schools, which is good for students, schools, and communities.
Russ Walsh:

I am sure it would give Christie a boost in the polls and solidify his standing as a violent, bullying looney worthy of Republican voter support. It might even be enough to get him on the stage at one of the primary debates where he could punch Wolf Blitzer in the face and garner even more support.
Steven Singer:

A 52-year-old who probably couldn’t beat up an egg with an egg beater continues to talk as if he’s a street tough. A grown man who is still apparently intimidated by people with any kind of learning or book smarts continues to attack education and educators.
No, this is not a case of an outspoken elected official "telling it like it is." This is a case of someone with a serious anger management issue running for leader of the free world. 

Remind you of anyone...? 

During this infamous confrontation at the UN General Assembly between Nikita Krushchev and Lorenzo Sumulong, the head of the Filipino delegation, the Russian Premier called Sumulong "a jerk, a stooge and a lackey."

Do we really want history to repeat itself? 

Adding: Gov. Christie is holding a fundraiser this evening at the Asbury Park Convention Center on the boardwalk. NJEA members will be out in force to protest. Stay tuned for a full report tomorrow!