Aside from ex-governor Jon Corzine, no one lost bigger in November’s
Garden State gubernatorial election than the New Jersey Education
Association. That, at least, is the sense in Trenton, where
newly-elected Governor Chris Christie has declared war with the
teachers’ union. Besides appointing former Jersey City Mayor (and
veteran voucher booster) Bret Schundler to run the state’s education
department, the Governor and his allies have so far engaged mostly in a
verbal sparring match. NJEA’s thinking is “back in the 19th century,”
says Christie, while the head of the Black Ministers’ Council, Reverend
Reginald Jackson, likened the union to Rip Van Winkle. NJEA Prez Barbara
Keshishian still hopes to establish a “working relationship” with the
new guv. But voters “didn’t pick me because they were looking for a
subtle approach,” declares Christie. “So, here it comes.” Despite all
this smack-talking, NJEA is still a force to be reckoned with. It has
dollars, manpower, and pet elected officials aplenty upon which to call
as Christie takes his charter school-voucher-teacher evaluation agenda
to the mat. And the union’s refusal to back the Garden State’s Race to
the Top application, announced the same day as Schundler’s appointment,
cannot help Jersey’s chances. But notwithstanding the NJEA’s $3 million
effort to defeat him, Christie rode a positive wave into Trenton, and
that’s sure to count for something. Here's hoping that this brawl
doesn’t end up as part of a reality series plot line.

"Gov.-elect Christie targets teachers' union with Schundler appointment," by Tom Moran, The Star-Ledger, January 13, 2010

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