Public Education’s Dangerous Silence

When educators are silent, the governor’s barbs and soundbites are all the more convincing
By Gordon MacInnes, August 26 in Opinion

Welcome to New Jersey and to the 18-month street fight waged by Gov. Chris Christie against public education. By this time, the governor’s attacks against teachers and their unions, superintendents’ associations and local school board are almost pro forma. (Christie seems to actively dislike everything and anything to do with public education — except charter schools.)

If Christie’s comments have lost much of their ability to surprise (though not to sting), what is truly shocking is the weak defense against these attacks offered by the very people who’ve committed their lives to public education. True, the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) denounces Christie’s attack, but it is dismissed as a predictable opponent by the press and most legislators.

Suffering in silence, especially in this case, is very dangerous. Christie is the master of the soundbite. He is passionate, if almost inevitably wrongheaded in his comments about public schools. And if he is allowed to monopolize the microphone, those passionate misinterpretations will start to sound like the “truth.”

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