Sunday, November 3, 2013

Letter to Governor Christie from the New Jersey Teacher He Screamed At

Dear Governor Christie, Yesterday I took the opportunity to come hear you speak on your campaign trail. I have never really heard you speak before except for sound bytes that I get on my computer. I don't have cable, I don't read newspapers. I don't have enough time. I am a public school teacher that works an average of 60 hours a week in my building. Yes, you can check with my principal. I run the after-school program along with my my classroom position. I do even more work when I am at home. For verification of this, just ask my children. I asked you one simple question yesterday. I wanted to know why you portray NJ Public Schools as failure factories. Apparently that question struck a nerve. When you swung around at me and raised your voice, asking me what I wanted, my first response “I want more money for my students.” Notice, I did not ask for more money for me. I did not ask for my health benefits, my pension, a raise, my tenure, or even my contract that I have not had for nearly three years. We got into a small debate about how much money has been spent on education. Too me, there is never enough money that is spent on education. To invest in education is to invest in our future. We cannot keep short-changing our children and taking away opportunities for them to explore and learn. As more money is required for state-mandated curriculum changes and high-stakes standardized testing, it is our children that are losing. Programs are being cut all over the state as budget changes are forcing districts to cut music, art, after-school transportation, and youth-centered clubs. But let's put money aside for a moment. What do I want? What do 'we people' want? We want to be allowed to teach. Do you know that the past two months has been spent of our time preparing and completing paperwork for the Student Growth Objectives? Assessments were created and administered to our students on material that we have not even taught yet. Can you imagine how that made us feel? The students felt like they were worthless for not having any clue how to complete the assessments. The teachers felt like horrible monsters for having to make the students endure this. How is that helping the development of a child? How will that help them see the value in their own self-worth. This futile exercise took time away from planning and preparing meaningful lessons as well as the time spent in class actually completing the assessments. The evaluations have no statistical worth and has even been recognized as such by the NJ Department of Education. I am all for evaluation of a teacher. I recognize that I should be held accountable for my job. This does not worry me, as long as I am evaluated on my methods of teaching. I can not be held wholly accountable for the learning growth of a student when I am not accountable for all of the factors that influence this growth. Are you aware that poverty is the biggest determination of a child's educational success. If not, I suggest you read Diane Ravitch's new book Reign of Error. Take a moment and become enlightened. Getting back to the issue of money. I am fully aware of our educational budget. Where is all of this money? To me it seems like it is being siphoned right off into the hands of private companies as they reap the benefits of the charter schools and voucher programs that you have put into place. It certainly hasn't gone to improve school conditions in urban areas such as Jersey City. The conditions that these students and teachers are forced to be in are horrifying. Yet you are not allowing the funds needed to improve these conditions. Are you hoping that these schools get closed down and more students are forced to go to private charter schools while the districts are being forced to pay their tuition? I know for a fact that this is what has happened in Camden and Newark. Yet these charter schools are not held to the same accountability as our public schools. Why is that? Because deep down you know that you are not really dealing with the issues that influence a child's education. You are simply putting a temporary band-aid into place. Unfortunately that temporary fix is already starting to be exposed as Charter Schools are showing that they actually are not able to do better than public schools. You are setting up teachers to take the blame for all of this. You have portrayed us as greedy, lazy money-draining public servants that do nothing. I invite you to come do my job for one week Governor Christie. I invite you to come see my students, see how little they really have during the school day as they are being forced to keep learning for a single snapshot of their educational worth. For that one end-all, be-all test, the NJASK. The one that the future of my job and my life is now based upon. Why do you portray schools as failure factories? What benefit do you reap from this? Have you acquired financial promises for your future campaigns as you eye the presidential nomination? Has there been back-room meetings as you agree to divert public funds to private companies that are seeking to take over our public educational system? This is my theory. To accomplish all of this, you are setting up the teachers to take the blame. Unfortunately, you are not the only governor in our country that has this agenda. What do “we people' want, Governor Christie? We want our schools back. We want to teach. We want to be allowed to help these children to grow, educationally, socially, and emotionally. We want to be respected as we do this, not bullied. BadAss Teacher, Melissa Tomlinson

171 comments:

Lauren Hopson said...

Bravo!!!!

veruka salt said...

Perfectly stated. Because educating poor children is not easy states want to get out of the business and hand it over to corporations. When it's to hard for them who will PAY? They will fade away.

Threads and Trappings said...

Beautifully written. As a mother with a daughter in 1st grade, it breaks my heart to see what our elected officials are doing to public education. They are greedy pigs that don't care anything about educating a child, only about the money they can make from opening charter schools and lining the pockets of their corporate donors.
Keep doing what your doing. We need teachers and parents to speak out and stand up for our children.

Nancy Krahe said...

Melissa; So well said!!! Thank you for taking the time to show up, speak out to the Governor, and then the time to write the thoughtful response to his very unprofessional, immature reaction to your question.

There are many of us who stand beside you...we need to work together and take back our public schools....for ALL CHILDREN! In Solidarity, Nancy Krahe,LICSW

Deb Miller said...

I am sorry that you had to endure what is really abuse from a public official. However, your response is stated perfectly. Hopefully, he will get wind of it. Hopefully, he will read it. Yes, read.. with the skills to read that he learned from a teacher.

Laura said...

Beautifully said!

Marian Dondero said...

Well done! Your comments and insights reflect your professionalism and commitment to serving the needs of children. Thank you!

Donna Groves said...

I wish that I could write as well as you! Your letter is absolutely dead on!

jzitzka said...

Well said. Thank you for taking the time to write this!

Suzy Brooks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt McL said...

Charter schools are not private schools.

Margot said...

Absolutely perfect!

sean crowley said...

Well Matt when eva Moskowitz can cancel classes, dress all the kids in color coded t shirts and take them on a political march to protest the agenda of a mayoral candidate they sure as hell aren't public schools either. Let a public school try a stunt like that and watch the media feeding frenzy and the lawsuits come pouring in. But in little Mikey's NYC with Lil Mikey's DOE nothing is said or done. Ninja please.

Jessica.Gonzalez said...

I thought this was beautifully written.

I just have one question. It is not meant to cause conflict, but to help me better understand something. I currently work at a charter school, and I am wondering what the difference is in our requirements. It is my understanding that, because we do receive public funding, that we are held to the same standard. I have to do SGOs. I'm evaluated using Teachscape.

Again, I don't want to create conflict. I agree with your argument. I just want to better understand what's different between the charter school requirements and the public school requirements.

Suzy Quinn said...

NOT one public official could ever walk ONE day in a public teacher's shoes, never mind a week!!

Kids First FOR REAL said...

AWESOME! Forgot one part about the money. Most of the money goes to Cerfs Broad buddies that fill the ridiculous top heavy positions draining all of the money from students. They run Paterson, Jersey City, Newark and Camden not because they care about our kids but because they want to funnel the money to their people.

Bonju Patten said...

As a student of 9 years in a liberal Catholic School in NYC and then of a City College Grad (Hunter) I am proud to say the teachers I had helped shape my life, encouraged me in my goals and I remember them all with love and respect. Mr. Christie's own mother was an educator and he quotes her a lot but she seemed to be a bully. His dad not so much. Mr Christie Sr is a mouse compared to the tyrant his wife seemed to be. Hence the hatred Chris has for women and men who are teachers in this state.

Chris Christie, weight aside is a bastard and needs to have his head handed to him. His children are all bullies and he throws his weight around constantly trying to bully people. Had he spoken to me the way he spoke to you (finger in face) he'd be missing appendages now. As it is when I heard what he did to you I was so angry I wanted to go to where he lives, spit in his face and tell him a lie (that I have aids, which I do not).

But my anger aside, I have zero respect for the fat punk and I hope the people of NJ vote him out on Tuesday. Barbara Buono is not a formidable opponent but if the people want him out - he's gone.

At this point teachers like you (and we have teachers in our family whom we love and respect) are few and far between.

I wish you all the goodness in the world and successes in your future.

Yours Respectfully,
Catherine Bonjukian Patten

Angelo DeStefano said...

Well if he is going to work as a teacher it should be for a whole school year, not one week. Tony Danza did it, then wrote a book apologizing to every teacher he ever had.

Teacher Mom said...

Well said Melissa!. Most of the funding is just money that he was forced to return by order of the State Supreme Court after violating the mandated state school funding formula. I hate what my job has become. I just want to work with my kids, meet their needs and watch them grow. None of these bogus "assessments" tell me anything I don't already know about my kids. Neither are SGOs statically viable; they say nothing about me as a teacher, especially when the number are so easily manipulated.

Robin Cederblad said...

Well done, Melissa. Here in Illinois, education ranks in the bottom and not the top like NJ; public schools are being closed; charters are being opened and staffed with TFAers; pensions/benefits are being attacked; active teachers are asked to work longer, pay more, and receive less; and the mayor of Chicago is "in bed" with business and charters. Our poverty is staggering and Common Core does nothing to address that issue - only cause further problems of stress, frustration, and anger with its high stakes testing using non-teacher created assessments. We need to take back our public schools before corporations, "deformers," and legislators turn our students in mere robots who can no longer think creatively or individually.
^0^

Wil V said...

Beautifully written, however you do not mention unions which are part of a problem and a burden.

Jackie Wellington said...

May I have permission to reblog this?

Julie Ardito said...

WELL DONE Melissa!!! Thanks for being a Badass!

kteachernj said...

Thank you for speaking out on this! I only hope enough people take the time to actually hear you.

David Windhorst said...

A real hero. Unsung, like most teachers.

Teaching for students said...

Beautifully said and expresses how teachers are feeling! I find my time is spent on administering test to little children who still have so many areas of learning to absorb, analyzing test scores, and helping others understand this evaluation model. I find less and less time we are doing what led us down the path toward teaching -- to help students learn and meet their individual needs. I work with fabulous dedicated teachers who work endless hours to inspire and meet the needs of their classes. Teaching to a test is wrong; it hasn't worked in past years and is not going to suddenly take hold. Tests are a snapshot of a child that are based upon that child's day from nerves, problems at home or other circumstances that are out of a teacher's control. My classroom is a place that shows my dedication to the craft of teaching. Bravo Melissa, and I hope your words L throughout our state on Tuesday!

teresa ortiz said...

Congratulations for that lettler. Christie should go back to school to learn human relattions and also should go for medication to control his anger problem. Shame on you.

Peterla said...

As a teacher finishing a really bad week, I could care less about testing right now. I have a suicidal student (all his classmates are very worried) a co-worker with metastasized cancer (imagine what her students are going to have to go through) and a death of a teen at a nearby school (not identified yet but we send students there). I am much more concerned about the emotional health of my students at this time than that they know that the square root of 2 is irrational or how to convert a repeating decimal to a fraction. Doe this make me a bad teacher?

Susan said...

Good letter although I think Obama and Duncan are really the people responsible for the current attempt to destroy public education.

Jeff Pickens said...

Sadly, this boorish behavior is what endears Christie to too many NJ voters.

Traci Rubner said...

Beautifully written and thank you for your example of courage!

Lisa Yak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
technokat said...

Wil V said...
"Beautifully written, however you do not mention unions which are part of a problem and a burden."
Explain just HOW unions are part of WHAT problem and HOW unions are a burden? One who makes such outlandish comments with zero evidence should take the time to elaborate. I look forward to your "evidence."

Yvonne Hampton said...

Our education system has become abusive to teachers and children because of unrealistic expectations. Every child is a gift and should be looked at as a miracle capable of achieving their highest potential. How can they do that if we spend all out time teaching to a particular test. They need to apply and use the skills they have acquired in authentic situations. They do not need to show what they know all the time. Education should be an exciting journey where students are eager to learn and teachers are free to teach. I do not believe the policy makers could survive a day in the classroom. They are out of touch. It is so easy to place the blame on teachers.

Debbie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie said...

The letter was brilliant! It touched on all the necessary points for both students and teachers suffering under the burdensome testing and financial cuts that come as a result.

It's too bad that Christie will never bother to read it - his hubris is too great. He cannot *imagine* anyone, especially a teacher, (!), would have something of substance to add to the schema he's created. Now, whether he has created this schema for his own personal gain or because he truly believes his creation, (or some combination of both, (has he begun to believe his lies?), is for each of to imagine for ourselves, or for a psychiatrist to diagnose. Only he knows for sure - or maybe not, if he has fooled himself.

He could, indeed, be delusional. That would explain the extreme reaction to this poor teacher - the finger pointing in her face and the screaming at her. She put a crack into his delusion, and that was frightening to him. He struck back in the only way he could - in public.

So, is this behavior public humiliation? Or is it more. Could this be threatening behavior and intimidation of a younger, smaller person who dared to question the "great and mighty Oz"/ Christie? If it is the latter, is Christie's behavior a matter for the police to look into? Personally, if *any* large man did that to *me* in a public forum, I would have called the police in fear.

Writing a letter is fine and good, but, it's not enough. This public servant was just threatened in a public forum, with plenty of witnesses surrounding the incident. She was threatened by a powerful person, a man who had physical and political power over her. Her immediate physical safety could have been at risk, (I want to know if she felt at risk at that very moment), and her job could very well be tenuous right at this very moment. NJ is a "right to work" state. They can be rid of her for *any* reason.

Consequently, I urge this NJ teacher to file charges against the Mayor immediately! Not just for her own sake, but, for the sake of all the other people who would like to ask a question of the "great and mighty Oz," but would not like to be verbally assaulted as a result. Furthermore, charges pressed would help even Christie himself. He needs to learn to check his actions. We teach children that these intimidating actions are not acceptable. Mr Christie never learned the lesson. It's time he did! Please press charges, Ms. New Jersey Teacher. For all of us! And thank you for bringing this to the fore.

Debbie Krous
Proud BAT!

kelly o said...

@Jessica.Gonzalez - Charter schools receive public funding, but they are run privately. While the charter school you work for may follow closely to what public school teachers must do, that is not always the case. Laws vary by state and I am from NY, so I do not understand that as well, but charter schools do not have to follow the same regulations.

A personal anecdote: I interviewed at a charter school for a Latin position (I am certified in ELA) after being contacted by a third-party with the offer. At the time, I was desperate for a teaching job, but ultimately withdrew myself from consideration. I'm not certified in Latin, or even foreign language, and I did not feel comfortable being the content "expert" when I would be learning the material with the students. That wouldn't happen in a public school (or would be much less likely) because they're accountable for having certified teachers in a classroom that have certification in the subject. In my area, even per-diem subs are often certified in the area that they're guest teaching for.

I am sure charter school teachers have the same passion for education, but charter schools siphon public money away from public schools, hurting the public school system. If charter schools want to run like private schools, then they should be free to - just don't take public money.

DaphneDuquesne said...

I agree with the substance of most of this teacher's remarks, and I respect her dedication and courage. However, am I the only reader who thinks she needs to improve her grammar? If she were teaching my child, I would be concerned. This letter demonstrates one reason why English usage has declined in our country: even teachers do not know the rules. It's hopeless.

Karen Walter said...

And these are the reasons he'll lose this election. Won't be the first time teachers influenced an election. Keep finding your voices NJ teachers. BATs got your back :)

Debbie said...

I'm sorry. I said she should file charges against the mayor.
Of course, Mr. Christie is the Governor of New Jersey.
Consequently, this New Jersey teacher should file charges against the governor.
Thank you,
Debbie Krous
Proud BAT!

Sylva Smith said...

While I completely agree with the arguments in this letter, I am a bit shocked when teachers and students are the subject, she refers to them as "that" instead of "who". PA schools taught us people are who and things are that... Also, two months have passed, not has past. Has is singular, have is plural. I guess cuts in education have been going on for quite some time.

Peterla said...

DaphneDuquesne: This is a blog- she is writing her thoughts and didn't have an editor (something even the best authors have). A few mistakes can be forgiven, I would think, and do not indicate her knowledge on the subject.
In my previous post, I meant to add; Thanks for writing this and letting us know what was going on with Christie. He should know how hard it is to teach, and realize that all time taken away from teacher/student time is detrimental to the students. It is hard enough to be a good teacher without the attitudes of the public and our elected officials not supporting the people who are doing the actual work!

Mr. Portelos said...

Great stuff. Would have loved to see video of this conversation.

Penett said...

Wow, RIGHT ON! I'm cutting and pasting this in my "education" folder. Well said, indeed!

jackiewellington21 said...

I am a writer of children's book. So I created a scene from your post on my blog. You should check it out.

http://iwritepicturebooks.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/freedom-empathy-and-americas-future/

Steven Humphreys said...

I can tell you why Gov. Christie calls New Jersey public schools "failure factories." It is because he knows that by using inflammatory rhetoric of this type, he will be revered by mean-spirited, selfish and venal individuals who increasingly are becoming the core of the Republican Party. I say venal because the vast majority of them derive economic benefits from serving the interests of the ever self-aggrandizing sliver of the population that nearly owns everything. Not satisfied with their riches, they would rather see government programs of every type -- especially education -- stripped of funding to the point that they become a self-fulling prophecy of their mantra of how bad government is. What was once a proud tradition of bi-partisanship in promoting self-evident benefits of collective interest, like excellence in education, has been degraded by people like Gov. Christie into polarized gamesmanship and placed our country on the road to becoming a Third World class power.

Moxiemom said...

THANK YOU, Melissa!!! Christie is an insecure bully and you helped to expose him! I hope the people of New Jersey recognize him for what he is and vote him out on Tuesday!!!
Keep speaking up for teachers!

Ilana Schild said...

Absolutely, spot-on! I am so tired of setting my kids up to feel bad that the last time I gave one of these test I spent 15 minutes before hand telling my class how much more they are than a score on a test on material which I was not told to teach them.

MomsThoughts said...

I was horrified to see the picture of Gov Christie yelling at you. That is not the image of leader. That is not how I want my state run. That said: It has been shown time and time again, more money DOES NOT equal better education. Stop asking for more money. It doesn't work.

Your union sure is plenty rich though.

Tell me, did you know you can allocate your unions dues to a charity? You can start a charity to help your students and have all your teachers dedicate their union dues to funding it instead of the greedy, bloated NJEA. When you do that, then I will be impressed that you are genuine and sincere.

Also, when you and the NJEA take away tenure I will be impressed that you are genuine and sincere in your commitment to children and learning. Tenure has run its course. What other industry has such nonsense? Don't tell me you have to protect yourselves from politics and nepotism. Every one deals with those issues in the real world. Tenure was never designed for primary and secondary education - look it up. Tenure breeds mediocrity. Bad teachers stay bad. Good teachers don't bother, why should they? They will make the same raises as the bad teachers. Why put in extra effort? Tenure needs to go. Bad teachers need to go. Good teachers should HATE tenure. Get rid of tenure and good teachers have more incentive and earn more money!

You and plenty of other industries work long hours. I am an RN. We don't get tenure and nurses work their butts off in life or death situations that are physically demanding and they too are accountable to government agencies, etc... (They can't leave at the end of shift if there is work to be done, they also have to chart and fill out assessments up the wazoo and they get sued...all the time) You don't see their unions squeezing the taxpayers dry while whining about how hard their job is, AND they don't get summers off!

End tenure, give your union dues to a non-profit and stop whining and THEN I will have a whole lot more compassion for teachers.

I am sorry Gov Christie behaved badly. It is inexcusable.

Kristina said...

Thank you for speaking so openly and so passionately.

sparkysparky said...

Bravo, but,

Im not against the teachers, but the big teacher unions. In Chicago, the worst school system in the country, it takes 2-5 YEARS to fire a poor performing teacher. Do nay of you get that in the private sector? Probably weeks or months at the most.

There was a report that came out this week about the top 10 organizations that donate to politicians. Two Big teacher Unions were on the list. Are they part of the problem here? Absolutely.

We need more money for the kids, but one of the big problems in moving forward is Big Labor which only perpetuates the Us vs Them mentality.

linda said...

Beautifully said. Thank you.

progressivegrannie said...

Bravo!

J said...

My cousin is a local town politician in NJ and Christie said "This woman has obstructed everything I've ever tried to do"

OK first, I think Chris Christie saying that is the pot calling the kettle black. His shape and size alone obstruct everything. Next that piece of sewage just gets me everytime due to the fact that NJ has so many problems including this one and HE IS THE GOVERNOR yet he blames everyone else except himself for NJ's problems. Did I mention he's the one who runs the state and blames everyone except himself? For him to yell at you is proof positive that his time has come. I don't know if NJ will be immediately better off but the uphill climb can begin as soon as he's gone...the slovenly bastard. Way to get in his face. BTW did he spit sauerkraut all over you? Bleeeech!

dw said...

Bravo Melissa!!! I couldn't have said this better, and the same can be spoken about Texas. I applaud you speaking out for public school teachers everywhere. Those making decisions concerning education are doing a grave disservice to students; their future. For 21 years I've wished that at least the majority of public educators would approach this dilemma; make demands to secure change. I have retired, but not given up on my plans to make a difference. Thank you for taking a stand!!!

NGK said...

Good letter, great remarks and probably very good theory on why. One comment, though, 3rd paragraph, "Too me," should be "To me." Sorry to point this out, but I was an English teacher and this is one of my pet peeves.

Ellen said...

1042Very well said! Thank you for so beautifull representing "we people!"

Michael Hatfield said...

You people really make me sad. The original post had a few grammar issues, but so many of you claiming to be teachers just can't seem to handle the English language yourselves. I really fear for our children's futures.

Examples:

When it's to hard for them who will PAY?

Keep doing what your doing.

Neither are SGOs statically viable; they say nothing about me as a teacher, especially when the number are so easily manipulated.

Bravo Melissa, and I hope your words L throughout our state on Tuesday!

Doe this make me a bad teacher?

And the winning candidate:

Congratulations for that lettler. Christie should go back to school to learn human relattions and also should go for medication to control his anger problem. Shame on you.

Now someone said "But it's just a blog", but I know for a fact (see above) that the editor for this blog highlights spelling errors. It's really not that hard, people.

And at least 3 of those quotes are from people claiming to be teachers. Come on, man!

Lisa Muntean said...

Jackie, you can go to @njbatsa and ask her yourself. I am sure Melissa will be happy to let you blog on her story. She wants to get the message out to save public education.

LMR said...

Great Letter! I can only imagine the anger you must have felt during your interaction with him. Then having to put your thoughts in writing so quickly. But keep in mind, we are behind you! As a mother of two (7th and 5th graders), I am sick and tired of how are schools and teachers are being portrayed.

I just read Diane Ravitch's piece on her blog. She sites:

"But Tomlinson was wrong about one thing: on the 2011 NAEP, New Jersey was second in the nation in reading, behind Massachusetts and tied with Connecticut. In math, New Jersey was second in the nation. Not third, but second.

The districts in New Jersey that are failing are the ones that are controlled by the state, some for decades. The state has no idea what to do other than to hand students and public funds over to private corporations."

Realize this, you just changed how people will vote Tuesday.. Bravo!

Unknown said...

This can also be a letter to NC Gov. Pat McCrory.

William Owens said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
technokat said...

MomsThoughts said...
"Your union sure is plenty rich though."
Who are you to pass judgement on the net worth of an organization?

"You can start a charity to help your students and have all your teachers dedicate their union dues to funding it instead of the greedy, bloated NJEA."
The majority if teachers do charity work by volunteering for their school community--not to mention the hours of unpaid overtime they put in that comes with the job. I don't know one teacher who either doesn't take work home or who doesn't put in extra time planning and preparing outside of contracted hours just to do the contracted job. Unions protect these people from being mandated to work beyond the contracted day knowing full well these people have lives and families, too, and the hours on paper are demanding enough.

Dues pay for a great deal of services to the organization's members, an important one being the interpretation of state laws and how they can harm public education. Teachers and education support professionals are not trained in matters of law. The NJEA has a department of attorneys and political scientists who are experts and consultants. While its members are doing their jobs, their union is hard at work in Trenton protecting members and the children with whom they work from dangerous legislation that will cripple public education. You might do well to research just what this union does for its members before you make remarks.

"Also, when you and the NJEA take away tenure I will be impressed that you are genuine and sincere in your commitment to children and learning."
No one is interested in impressing--only educating.

"Tenure has run its course. What other industry has such nonsense? Don't tell me you have to protect yourselves from politics and nepotism. Every one deals with those issues in the real world."
You really have no idea what tenure means, do you? Tenure means an employee has a right to "due process." Once an employee has been accused of a violation of his contract, an investigation and hearing takes place before said employee can be fired. Tenure shows that a district has invested in a dedicated staff of education professionals by granting them these protections after a trial period when the administration can determine the quality and potential of said employees. Once a teacher receives tenure--granted by the district, not the union--he can choose to stay in his chosen district. If he chooses to leave to find a better-paying job, like many do in other professions, he loses the right to tenure and needs to begin the process all over again. As well, most districts cannot afford to pay for service years to new employees despite the fact that said employees may be experienced professionals having taught elsewhere. Therefore teachers run the risk of significant cuts in pay and loss of due process rights if they should choose to seek work somewhere else. Tenure makes sense to a teacher if a district would like that teacher to invest in said district and not job-hop like so many in the private sector do. That's how you build and retain a dedicated staff--you make an investment in them. It is obvious that many like yourself really don't know much about tenure except the rhetoric that powerful loudmouths like Christie tell you.

"Tenure breeds mediocrity."
Prove this with your knowledge of "due process."

technokat said...

MomsThoughts said...
"Bad teachers stay bad. Good teachers don't bother, why should they? They will make the same raises as the bad teachers."
First off, what is a "bad teacher?" People throw that term around as if they understand what constitutes quality teaching. Your comment is nothing more than a talking point if you cannot actually contribute expertise to the argument.

"Why put in extra effort? Tenure needs to go. Bad teachers need to go. Good teachers should HATE tenure."
Actually, quality teachers NEED due process (tenure) protections. Ask any senior partner in any Wall St. firm: Experience and longevity puts you on a higher salary scale. If an experienced teacher earns pay raises, it shows an investment in that teacher by the district, as I stated above. Wouldn't you rather an experienced surgeon perform your procedure compared to one with very little experience? I know I would. Should that surgeon command a higher fee? Would you want an entry level attorney defending you or one who has the experience and is paid accordingly for it? Once experienced, expert teachers of quality move to a salary level that seems far less attractive to a school district, the school district will work hard to make that teacher's life a living hell with the hopes that he'll retire so they can hire someone cheaper and put a new carpet in the superintendent's office. THAT is why quality teachers need tenure--and districts need quality teachers. Unfortunately, politicians have school districts on a string in regard to budgets. They often cannot pay to retain quality teaching staff members due to state budget restraints, but if contracts dictate that quality staff is a priority, schools will thrive. You WANT protections for teachers.

"Get rid of tenure and good teachers have more incentive and earn more money!"
So, so naive. That will never happen without an association contract.

Now then, if a so-called "bad teacher" remains in the position, it is the fault if the administration for not proving a tenure charge against the teacher. There are two sides to every contract--people seem to forget that districts have hiring and firing protections in place, too. Districts have negotiated for these rights as per the contracts they make with associations.

Teachers do not want the worst among them to continue--they want them out as much as anyone else PROVIDING there is just cause which is what the tenure hearing in "due process" is designed to determine. No union protects "bad teachers." THAT is utter nonsense spewed by a corporate machine helm-bent on weakening the middle class worker, and you have played right into it by not educating yourself on the issue. Instead, you latch onto flimsy straw-man arguments that defy logic and forethought because they align with your sense of duty and passion. I really wish members of the general public would educate themselves about teachers unions before making judgments.

You're apparently an educated person--you have an obligation to society to get informed before you vote.

technokat said...

sparkysparky said...
"Im not against the teachers, but the big teacher unions. In Chicago, the worst school system in the country, it takes 2-5 YEARS to fire a poor performing teacher. Do nay of you get that in the private sector? Probably weeks or months at the most."
Do teachers get severance packages? Astronomical salaries? Do they job-hop so they can make more money? Is that even feasible? No. Yet, in the private sector, among professionals, you see these protocols over and over. Districts cannot afford these firing practices, so they offer "due process" to those professionals who, by management's standards, have earned it. Everyone should have these protections. Once again, they have earned tenure BY MANAGEMENT'S (not the union's) STANDARDS. People forget that there are two sides to a contract.

Now in regard to Chicago, why don't you take up your complaints with the local elected school board. Oh wait...the people didn't elect the board. The mayor appointed them, but by all means, blame the teachers for the conditions of schools and the community at-large. Yes, it's all the fault of those people in the trenches--it couldn't POSSIBLY be the out-of-touch sycophant appointees who combined have less knowledge about education than one Chicago teacher does in his little finger. I cannot fathom how seemingly intelligent people come up with such nonsense and then have the confidence to post it on the Internet.

Please, sir. Your comparisons to the private sector are laughable.

"There was a report that came out this week about the top 10 organizations that donate to politicians. Two Big teacher Unions were on the list. Are they part of the problem here? Absolutely."
How so?

"We need more money for the kids, but one of the big problems in moving forward is Big Labor which only perpetuates the Us vs Them mentality."
Sorry, that mentality is perpetuated by those who don't give a whit for anyone to have any quality of life outside of the job. You're on the wrong side if you think "Big Labor" teacher unions are the problem. (I can see it now: AFT t-shirts with the word "Hoffa" on them.) Again, laughable.

Without protections, God help our communities: No one of quality would do this job without them. They sure ain't in it for the money.

Jennifer Gilliland said...

You don't just speak for New Jersey; you speak for all of us. Great job!

special ed teacher in nj said...

In response to Momthoughts....You said that money is not always the answer to better education. This is true. Money for money's sake solves nothing. However, my students deserve text books, safe buildings and any service deemed necessary such as occupational therapy,speech and language therapy etc. I am not given enough money to order books for each student.
I did not get into teaching to get rich and certainly not for the glory. I feed my kids, put food in their bookbags for the weekend, buy them clothing, pay for field trips and spend about $800 a year on teaching supplies. I do this because I care for my kids!

kdecor said...

@Jessica Gonzalez
Charter schools must evaluate teachers and hold them to the standard their governing board has set. They are expressly exempted from the formula set by the state that evaluates teachers and rescinds tenure based upon SGPs from NJASK scores. see: http://www.state.nj.us/education/chartsch/info/evaluation.pdf as compared to http://www.state.nj.us/education/genfo/faq/faq_eval.shtml#_Student_Achievement_Data (see "Student Achievement Data in Evaluations")

MissGtravels said...

You gave me chills!!! THANK YOU!!! - From a teacherin Maine!!

joye said...

You go, Girl ! Fellow educator in Iowa.

englishmusings said...

Well said. Teachers are the heart and soul of our nation, and deserve our respect, that includes the governor of my home state. Your last line hits it on the head--why is it ok for a public official to be a bully. This was unacceptable and as a fellow teacher, (now living & teaching out of state) I am so proud of you for standing up for the kids you teach. Well done and thank you for posting this blog to raise awareness. You are making a difference in the lives of the children you teach, and now also nationally as news of this incident reaches a wider audience.

Honey said...

Go, Melissa! Vote the bully out!!!

Jodi said...

When I saw the picture of Christie wagging his finger at someone on my newsfeed, I tried to give Christie the benefit of the doubt. However, as I gathered what little information there was, I came to realize that what you said, about his political ambitions and agenda, will supersede the truth of the situation when it comes to education in NJ. His reaction is yet another example of his bully nature and his inability to stop using teachers as his personal whipping boys. The only "failure factory" is in Washington, where his kind distort the truth to fit their agendas. Christie wouldn't last a day in most of our shoes as teachers.

technokat said...

I do apologize if my comments appear abrasive, but having endured the slings and arrows of an ignorant public commentary, I refuse to stand by and allow false accusations to color both the teaching profession and the organizations that serve and protect public school professionals. I am clearly, "mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore." No one in this profession should EVER have to take it.

It's time to rise up, organize and make a difference in the voting booths on Tuesday. Get your colleagues, family members and friends out there. Post on all your social networks. This is no time for passivity.

Politicians are making decisions that affect not only teaching professionals, but their families, all of our children, our communities, and the future. We, as citizens, have the power in numbers to stop the bleeding. We have seen this governor's agenda in action throughout the country in other statehouses and governor's offices. The false rhetoric is the same: "Schools are failing, unions are bad, and teachers cannot be fired." If you know this is rubbish, do something to keep these horrific political policies out of New Jersey schools.

Teachers notoriously do not like politics and conflict, but the politics have come into each and every classroom and community. It's time to change the discourse.

gail zawacki said...

Christie makes me ashamed to be a New Jersey resident. You made me proud of our state again. Thank you!

John Meadows said...

You can bet he will read this. You can also bet that he won't care one little bit. The part about backroom deals and contributions is spot on. This is just the continuation of the dumbing down of Americans so the filthy rich and corporations can do as they please without nary a peep from the people just trying to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. Christie is just another miserable politician who has no soul.

Darlene said...

I think that if you make this more public cause the video is not there anymore we might have a better chance in NJ.
it seems that since He has come into office, more businesses have closed their doors. Our important service workers have been laid off Less teachers, firemen, police etc. Causing others to be doing triple and quadruple the work they should have to do. I am so glad I got to see this.
I am a student who wants to get into the school district to do my fieldwork, and am at a stand still till I get into a school district can not continue my Masters degree until some school lets me into do my study in their class. This I know is because teachers are already overrun with work they can not find the time to mentor other students in need.
We need to let all of New Jersey know what type of bully he is. He acts like he is the hero of the Sandy Storm when really he holds up the works for the recovery and hires the cheapest contractors that will put back the shore areas but with cheap parts and labor.
Well you told him off as good as it gets.
Sincerely
Darlene Tschopp

Jeannette Pernis said...

Beautifully stated! We, Paterson NJ teachers, applaud you!! Thank you for calling Governor Christie what he truly is a BULLY and dirty politician with his own agenda.

Elli Barasch said...

I'm with the grammar pickers. These aren't simple typos; they are signs of poor training. It does concern me that a teacher could be so sloppy and didn't review her work. If a teacher's writing is so poor, what can we expect of her students?

JDMan said...

It is very depressing that those who allegedly lead have such a profound lack of respect for teachers and even less understanding when it comes to education. I don't think that Cristie realizes just how many people he has offended by revealing his true character.

fluffyslippers said...

AMAZING!!!!!!! It is the same here in Arizona. Charter schools everywhere and we spend some of the lowest money per student anywhere in the US. Where does the money go? Charter schools? Private schools? ADMINISTRATION? My heart breaks for the students and the passionate teachers out there. THANK YOU for sharing this! Thank you for all you do!

texas said...

he is such a bully...his poor wife and children....

Mark said...

Brava!! Stand your ground...and ours!!

Anne said...

I too, am a devoted and dedicated teacher. You are my hero for taking the TIME to compose this post. Perfectly stated and my feelings exactly.

John Geise said...

Aren't you smart enough to understand that liberal politicians have imposed state-mandated curriculum changes, high-stakes standardized testing and Student Growth Objectives? That Christie would DUMP all of those things immediately, if he could. That he would let YOU and YOUR LOCAL School Board decide how to fund and run your schools and class rooms with YOUR local money if he could????

Travis said...

There are a few grammatical errors here. To me, and a few others. What are you teaching?

Brenda Lee said...

I was a victim of the beginning of government sanctioned teacher abuse. (I retired last year). I say this because the beginning was about 16 years ago in Texas when George Bush was governor. The Republicans pushed this abusive agenda until many teachers went over the edge.

We were retrained to teach according to what the 'experts' (take that to mean a person who stayed in education but bailed out of the classroom as soon as possible) said. When teaching like this we got tons of parent complaints and of course we were held responsible for the unhappy parents, who would have been fine if we could have taught a better way. It is the perfect storm to create stress in teachers
, parents and students. And a perfect storm to make the public hate public education.

We came to realize in the early 2000's that charter schools are a way to place government (our money) into private hands. It has been heartbreaking to see this agenda take over the nation.

Amy said...

If you do your research, tenure does not mean a job for life. And if you do your research, you would know that states with unions snd tenure out-perform states without. If you want good teachers, you must compensate them.

Joanne said...

Well stated! Thanks for speaking up for puiblic educators!

kelly elaine said...

The GOP IS aware that poverty affects educational achievement and attainment - they are keenly aware, they use it as a tool, or rather, a weapon. In all my years as a college and graduate student, and college instructor, there is one constant I have seen in every state and in ever decade in which I have been actively working: The GOP plan is that education is NOT for the poor, it is only for the wealthy. The poor need to stay put. Education allows you to move up - heck, even to be president of the United States. They don't want that. They feel those who were born into wealth are the only ones who know how to lead, and that the rest of us were born to follow. In their minds, we were born into a caste system. Every attempt to pump money into public education, in their eyes, is as subversive as if you voted Communist. That is why they wanted to push the "voucher" idea, because they could take their (substantial) tax dollars and run, leaving the rest of us to fully fund our schools in ways that didn't involve the money of people who can afford to pay for their own children's private academies. This isn't just my educated opinion, I have had to sit in rooms of these boors as they posit their bigoted ideas as if they are actually trying to help the working man (you know, anyone not making more than $2M a year). I have listened to the patronization, because they mistake me for "one of them," why, I will never understand. Christie was arguing for his position, that schools don't deserve more money, because it is useless to educate people who shouldn't have aspirations in the first place. Don't let him fool anyone, just because he shows up on SNL and David Letterman and pokes fun at himself, or hugs President Obama and praises his assistance after a natural disaster, Christie is a Republican through and through. He doesn't care about those kids. They are not his concern. They need to get back on that road crew, behind that cash register, under that car, behind that clerk's counter, in the hair salon, or in that Humvee. We should know our place, and where we are going, an education isn't necessary. Why do you think they keep thinking up all of these standardized exams, knowing full well the effect it has (that I don't need to repeat) on the educational system? Because they will keep thwarting our efforts to thwart their efforts to deny us a good public education. whether it is for show or not, Chinese educators have expressed jealousy at the creativity of the American student, and rightly state that it comes from a well-rounded education, that includes the arts, music - all of the programs that have to be cut under the GOP cuts to education. Are the Chinese really jealous of us? Hard to tell, I learned that from the Chinese media. But they do know from where creativity, and thus flexibility of thinking that brings about new ideas in the business world, comes. So does the GOP. Just watch student loan laws under GOP attack or under Democrat protection. I've lived it since 1983. I feel for this teacher, but Christie knows everything that she has to say: he doesn't care.

drjjpdc said...

There are a few points to be made. First, when Christie was using his bullying legal tactics on locking up criminals, there were no complaints. Now that he is publicly voicing his concerns about NJ Educational problems, he is an unfair bully. You can't have it both ways; do you want a cream puff for a governor that blows kisses when he sees a problem?

Second money does not solve the problem. I am sick and tired of letting parents off the hook because of the poverty excuse. Parents have to spend time with their kids homework! Simple as that. If you can't spend that time because you have to work because you are living beyond your means, then that means reducing your expenses & that includes kids you can't afford.

Look at the following links about Kansas City around the 1990's and you will find money plus extra schools AND small class sizes are not solutions.

Money And School Performance: Lessons from the Kansas City ...
www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-298.html‎
by P Ciotti - ‎Cited by 29 - ‎Related articles
Mar 16, 1998 - For decades critics of the public schools have been saying, "You can't ... Kansas City spent as much as $11,700 per pupil--more money per ...

Why did Kansas City's public schools fail? - Rod Dreher - Blog
blog.beliefnet.com/.../03/why-did-kansas-citys-public-schools-fail.html‎
Mar 12, 2010 - But money was never the issue in Kansas City. ... The school district spent a staggering $2 billion to build new schools, improve the ones they...

Lastly, let me say that I disagree with Christie's push for testing especially when the teachers do not control the lessons needed to do well on those tests. Let's not forget discipline as well. It is not a dirty word. Remember Joe Clark, the East Side principal. I am not talking about his bat, but how he grew up. He had a brother that got into drugs and flunked out, while he did not. Same mother, same income level but different results. Why? Perhaps his brother simply could not be saved or was like those 300 kids in Stand By Me that were ruining it for the 2700 that were trying themselves. Some people can not be saved because they lack the fiber to succeed.

Yvonne Cosby said...

YOU GO GIRL!!!! WE WANT TO TEACH!!! and do not tell us their is no money for our children! Thank you for speaking in our behalf, on the children's behalf. I applaud you.

Michele said...

Brilliant letter!! You even cited Diane Ravitch's book, but I doubt that Christie will bother to read it. Public school teachers all across this country feel the same way as you do because we are all struggling with the very same issues. We applaud you and I, personally, wish that the good citizens of NJ would wake up and vote this bully out of office!!

de b lang said...

Applause applause applause. No one likes a bully. From a parent. THANK YOU for standing up for the children. God Bless You

Susanwr said...

We in Texas public schools feel the same way. Charter schools and vouchers are being crammed down our throats by our state legislature in spite of what public educators are saying. I won't even go into the extreme corruption and misappropriation of the funds -that are supposed to go to the kids - that end up in the pockets of administrators in many of these charter schools. It's infuriating!

Thanks for speaking up. Hope Christie reads it and actually cares. Good luck.

Ismael said...

I hope Christe reads the letter and takes long hard look in the mirror.

jude folly said...

splendid letter and admirable courage. i hope droves of other teachers will take this as a cue and speak out.

Mike Cruickshank said...

Melissa,
I am no fan of Chris Christie, I feel his private school system is just as corrupt as your teachers union. And his education policies are pure bureaucracy. Regardless, you are way off in this blog post.
He never characterized NJ Schools as failure factories. Your are either deliberately misquoting him or making a mistake but either way you are wrong.
He (Christie) was referring to 67 of the states 627 school districts that the federal government listed as in need of improvement. That is their politically correct way of saying those schools are failure factories given the fact that several dozen of those districts have made the federal list for close to a decade now.

Debbie said...

Earlier, I suggested that this teacher press charges against the "great and powerful Oz," Governor Christie. I suggested this because of his threatening and intimidating behavior. I did some research as a result.

There are Federal crimes Cristie can be charged with because of his behavior. And, since there were plenty of witnesses, and even a photograph of the incident, it should be easy enough to prove in a court of law. I hope this professional educator does follow through. After all, we teach our students that this behavior is wrong. It's about time that the Governor of New Jersey learned the facts of life, too.

Here are the Federal Laws under which he can be charged:
the charges would be intimidation and threatening behavior by a public figure. Here are some charges that could be put forth against him: Title 18, U.S.C., Section 245, Federally Protected Activities; Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242, Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law; and Title 18, U.S.C., Section 241, Conspiracy Against Rights, (this one is with the assumption that Christie had either body guards or other people with him while at the speaking engagement the teacher went to). Here is the citation for these specific laws: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/federal-statutes

As stated earlier, all of these are Federal crimes. There may be specific NJ crimes, but, I didn't look them up. Personally, I believe the first one and the third one would be her best bets. However, I do not pretend to be a lawyer. I do, however, hope she does move ahead with speaking to a lawyer about pressing charges. If it were me, I would in a heartbeat!

Debbie Krous
Proud BAT!

Jodi Money said...

Hi all!!

I have never felt compelled to write something on a "blog." I am not sure what is going to come out, but I would like to thank Melissa for this chance to speak out.
I am an "ex" teacher who worked in a charter school in an urban district for 5 years. It was not a perfect fit. many educational areas missed the mark as far as I am concerned, but my love for the children kept me plugging away.
I taught children who were unloved, unheard, unwashed, unfed, un un un. What was I to do when a child had no sleep and passed out on his desk at 9AM?? Did the NJASK help my kids deal with bullies, hunger, stress?? How could I keep it together when I knew a child had been locked up in her room all night for disobedience??
Where was Christie then?? Struggling through party politics to sit his rump in a seat UN deserved!!
I'm not sure how this letter is going. I have tears in my eyes because I feel that the educational system has created a failure of all it touches.
Thank God that the children forced to endure it have the brains, the beauty, and the wherewithal to survive it all. They are my champions. I personally wish I could have done more for them.

Jodi Money

WILLIEBTHERE said...

*Awesome*

Joy Lee said...

I'm not a teacher but I have volunteered in both public and charter schools in an urban area. It is like night and day. I have witnessed in the public schools kids with emotional problems crawl under desk, throw books across the room, put their head on the desk because their tired, cry because they dont want to do the work, and disrupt those students around them. Teachers cant get the children help fast enough. So, entire classrooms of students are effected by disruptions teachers cant prevent without assistance. I have not witness a child in charter school sleep, crawl under desk or throw books across the room. I have not heard a parent curse a teacher because their child got a bad grade. When a school has the ability to select it students and parents, they should produce better results. When a school has to take children and families as they are and fit them all in the same square peg, there will not have the same results. I applaud public school teachers. Many of you barely make enough to take care of your families, give up much of your family time to keep up with all the paperwork you cant do during your normal work hours and are bullied by politicians and supts that need scapegoats. Good teachers continue to speak up for yourselves.

Keith Ivey said...

I am a public speaker. I get paid to speak in front of audiences. Imagine someone coming to me with this deal: We want you to prepare and speak to four audiences a day for nine months. Each presentation will be from 50 to 90 minutes. You'll get 10 to 12 minutes before each presentation. At night you'll have some additional work generated by your presentations. And we'll pay you between $40K and $60K.

No professional speaker in their right mind would take this speaking job. Yet, teachers do this every day of their teaching lives. Yes, there are some teachers who should not be teaching. But that is true of the very highest paid professions as well. So, it's a lame excuse for diminishing the value of teachers and teaching.

I don't wonder why we have bad teachers. I wonder why we have any good ones.

Grammar Police said...

It’s a little horrifying to see so very many grammar mistakes from a teacher.

“Letter to Governor Christie from the New Jersey Teacher He Screamed At”
Ending a sentence with a preposition

“I run the after-school program along with my my classroom position.”
Double word

“Too me, there is never enough money that is spent on education.”
Too me? Oh, my.

“The evaluations have no statistical worth and has even been recognized as such by the NJ Department of Education.”
Wrong tense: the evaluations…have (not has) even been recognized…

“Are you aware that poverty is the biggest determination of a child's educational success.”
Wrong punctuation. This is a question.

“If not, I suggest you read Diane Ravitch's new book Reign of Error.”
Use italics on book titles. If this were the only error, I would let it go.

“You are simply putting a temporary band-aid into place.”
Band-Aid is a proper name and is capitalized. The generic term is bandage.

“Has there been back-room meetings as you agree to divert public funds to private companies that are seeking to take over our public educational system?”
The proper tense is, “Have there been…”

I see that the errors pointed out by Michael Hatfield on November 3 at 11:33 am have been corrected.

It’s a little shocking to see so much bad grammar from one teacher, and I worry about what she is teaching to the students of New Jersey. While she makes some interesting points, this is something to worry about.

Grammar Police said...

It’s a little horrifying to see so very many grammar mistakes from a teacher.

“Letter to Governor Christie from the New Jersey Teacher He Screamed At”
Ending a sentence with a preposition

“I run the after-school program along with my my classroom position.”
Double word

“Too me, there is never enough money that is spent on education.”
Too me? Oh, my.

“The evaluations have no statistical worth and has even been recognized as such by the NJ Department of Education.”
Wrong tense: the evaluations…have (not has) even been recognized…

“Are you aware that poverty is the biggest determination of a child's educational success.”
Wrong punctuation. This is a question.

“If not, I suggest you read Diane Ravitch's new book Reign of Error.”
Use italics on book titles. If this were the only error, I would let it go.

“You are simply putting a temporary band-aid into place.”
Band-Aid is a proper name and is capitalized. The generic term is bandage.

“Has there been back-room meetings as you agree to divert public funds to private companies that are seeking to take over our public educational system?”
The proper tense is, “Have there been…”

I see that the errors pointed out by Michael Hatfield on November 3 at 11:33 am have been corrected.

It’s a little shocking to see so much bad grammar from one teacher, and I worry about what she is teaching to the students of New Jersey. While she makes some interesting points, this is something to worry about.

Vanessa Richter said...

Yes, I found myself cringing also. I will proofread for her, if she's open to that!

DaphneDuquesne said...

There is no excuse for the poor grammar in this piece, PARTICULARLY from a teacher. It doesn't matter that she's blogging. She is publishing to the entire world her views on an important topic. Ideally, she is making a cogent argument for why school teachers and public education are vital to the success of our country and deserving of our respect and support.

Most of the errors highlighted by the "Grammar Police" do not look like mere typos. Even if they were typos, a teacher ought to proofread her article before publication, and she should train her students to develop the habit of proofreading, too. A teacher sets an example for his/her students and all of us when it comes to writing.

Again, I agree with this teacher on many issues. As the daughter of a teacher, I am not happy with our governor's treatment of teachers. However, it does not help our position and our cause when a clearly intelligent, dedicated and passionate teacher publishes an article with so many obvious grammatical errors. Let's do better.

Ross LeBrun said...

That is perfectly acceptable in the context. Which is never to be used for people, while "that" can go between people and objects. Just googling the rule because I'm not at my desk with my grammar guide, I found this (it is full of references): http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/who-versus-that

kathie said...

i am in solidarity, and applaud this brave letter, and her brave action to approach this powerful man who showed her such disrespect! how dare he treat a consituent, a woman, a teacher this way, and tell her to "do her job"???? she DOES her job...part of which is to question those in power on behalf of all teachers, and the students we love and protect!

587c0c32-4577-11e3-b217-000bcdca4d7a said...

Wow! It's sad this man has been allowed to create the damage he has. It's even sadder Jerseyites fall for his shtick. It's truly pathetic Buono is not destroying him in the polls.
Pricisely why he doesn't want to invest in education - who else but the ignorant support
him?

Mark said...

Charter schools ARE private schools because they are allowed to operate outside the parameters of the real public schools. Many are owned by private or corporate enterprises and that is definition of "private".

Renee Hargrove said...

Amen!

CHRISTINE HARTNEK said...

If you were to change New Jersey to Wisconsin and Governor Christie to Governor Walker it would be exactly the same here. Our public school children are being deprived of an education, out teachers are working twice as hard with only half as much support from the state while voucher and charter schools are reaping the wealth.

hungrydriver said...

He answered your question "because they are". You may not like the answer. Dear Ms. Tomlinson I have a question for you to answer: Were do think the money should come from? Pretty simple question.

MIkeNice said...

Give the children your salary if you think schools need more money. Have you seen your property taxes? Do you wonder why no companies come to New Jersey?

Kathy Ferguson said...

I will NEVER understand why politicians of such a powerful country want us to raise idiots and stifle their dreams?

The Deep End said...


Hey there, Chris Christie!
What's this I see?
Is that your finger,
That's wagging at me?

You may not have heard this,
but it's time that you learned.
That's MY child's teacher,
and I am concerned!

You've spent all our money,
On Common Core crap!
You've got some damned nerve,
To give her a slap!

Be warned, we have noticed
And it is far from late
For us to vote "other"
And seal your fate.

On some things you've been decent,
But on much you're so wrong.
To mess with OUR teacher?
Be prepared to be GONE!

M.Bohr, Badass Parents Association and NJ Voter

teacher said...

I agree with everything you said. As a teacher I have one important comment; before you go public, fix the typos ( to vs too, missing question marks, odd passive constructions, missing oxford commas etc). Your letter is powerful and right on, however presentation counts.

Ross LeBrun said...

I love the property tax argument. Teachers live in NJ too. Our taxes support the same things.

Remember the "shared sacrifice" schtick? Why then is Christie the only NJ gov in the last 4 to take his full salary?

Teachers make less now than they did 4 years ago thanks to the health care contributions and the pensions he said he wouldn't touch.

But at least the state is doing well. Except for the number 11 in the nation unemployment number (number 1 in the region). Oh, and crime statistics have spiked due to his budget cuts. Oh, and he wants to prove he's a Republican so he's pandering to the Koch brothers and their cronies by making sure that he stood up against marriage equality and voter's rights. Yeah, he's doing a great job. Based on the group of people who support this guy, I sincerely hope they don't miss the sarcasm in that.

Maynard623 said...

As a teacher I can say the same my day is 12 hours of working and a job that I do because I love it. I do understand cuts have to be made somewhere; how about with federal government, then NJ governors and the senators and congress man. We can further reach into the pockets of big corporations.

I actually thought you were starting to work with the state. I guess once a "bully." always a bully.

We need to improve our education system by adding teachers, giving us the supplies we need, and letting us do our jobs without constant mandates. I could get more children to pass the test if I was allowed to teach my way.

To "With a Brooklyn Accent," we teach not to bully in NJ, sorry if Governor Christie never got it.

mj90029 said...

Ms. Tomlinson,

Thank you -- so very well stated and on point.

Cynthia Branco said...

Beautifully said. . . .

Vicente Duvivier said...

Well get your vote out and hopefully, vote his azz out of office. But too many peeps in NJ seem to like him, so either they don't care about the children in NJ or they just don't care who's in office. Either way the sad story is, if he's re-elected you get no more monies for the children in NJ public schools.

Marie Hayden said...

Well said. I couldn't agree more. I do fear, however, that right-wingers will pounce on your few grammatical and spelling errors to rebut your argument. It's an ugly truth that educators are expected to be perfect when it comes to putting our thoughts in writing...

Tom M. said...

This was very well stated. It is absolutely stunning how politicians are using our kids as political pawns. The greed sickens me. A country that once was at the head of the pack in education, has fallen behind to a critical low. It floors me that these children, OUR FUTURE, are disregarded by such freed and indifference. They can dress it up all they like, and deny it... But the results of these continued cuts in education are evident. Stop allowing these educational bullies to STEAL from your children... OUR FUTURE!!

Madame Guil Lotine said...

Well done! I am pleased that you have contained the anger which would be a just response and articulated cogent thoughts that express what many intelligent members of our society are feeling about the state of our nations educational efforts.
It would seem that Mr. Christie may have missed too many days of his own schooling and thus must resort to loud, mean spirited responses to reasonable questions. He is an example of what can go wrong in the democratic process but that cannot hold us back from moving ahead with every effort that we can muster to solve the problems that mean stupid people have created.

Madame Guil Lotine said...

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November

Susan McGraw Keber said...

Wonderful letter! Superb! Every teacher should have your dedication and enthusiasm and tenacity to stand up and speak out for the students, the teachers, and the communities of schools that are struggling to do the best they can with the little they have been granted by their representatives.

Martinique Ribas said...

Good job!!!! Sometimes the truth hurts and I guess he was hurt!!! Oh well!!

Lynette McCord said...

Yes!!! And she speaks for NYC too!!!!

Sheila said...

NJ needs a complete overhaul of how it funds education. Period. In the meantime, there are so many individual hard-working teachers who are in it for the love of teaching. It's a shame the governor didn't see you as a concerned citizen who happens to teach, instead of seeing an enemy. He might learn something.

Alex Barbadoro said...

The real issue here is that Chris Christie is a bully. God forbid anyone would challenge his almighty word. As if he's done more than film commercials about himself in schools. He said "ass" or "hell" one time about people going back to the beach, & now he thinks he's some kind of renegade. If he were any more full of it, he'd explode for sure. Just another ego maniac.

Rally of One said...

Well said. Bravo!

Michael Powers said...

I applaud your actions. It's unfortunate that you live in a state like mine, that, for some reason, has nothing but contempt for education and educators. It's likely that the concerns you stated will be summarily ignored. It's us, and our children who will have to deal with the consequences of short-sightedness and willful ignorance. Sometimes, the bad guys win.

Leighann Peter said...

Get off the grammar train...my goodness. Finally someone talks back to him publicly. Haven't any of you ever sent a long text with typos! I think its more important to get your point across when heated! Good for you Angry-teacher-thats- had-enough! When will enough be enough? Let's just get robot teachers to begin instruction at birth...test at the end of every day and ruin socialization and civilization more than we already have! Woohoo!

Carol E. said...

So let me ask... does he have your vote? HAHAHAHAHA!!!

Jane Fain said...

I am so proud to read your response! Thank you for speaking for so many teachers in this country and for standing up for the children we serve. I admire your determination and devotion to teaching.

SemperEducandi said...

First, as the husband of an elementary school teacher (in rural Southern Illinois), and a quondam substitute teacher, let me first say that I agree completely with everything you say.

Second, however, I do wish that your writing (grammar) was up to par...

Start with paragraph three, "Too" should be "To." And there are severe problems in several other places with verb tense agreement, in number mostly, but also in tense. ("Has" instead of "have," and so on.)

Third, to reiterate, I agree whole-heartedly with your sentiments. I think your governor should take his angry, insulting, finger-waving, blame-finding stupidity and shove it where the sun shineth not. But please, slow down a bit, and don't rely on the spell-checker software to fix all the errors. They can't, at least not yet, make an English language parsing and correction program that is reliable. Maybe in a few years. Especially now, since you have gained national (and international) attention, how you write can mean more than -what- you write.

Don't give the scum-buckets any ammunition with which to attack you.

David Griswold said...

Please, please proofread (or have someone else proofread) your work. Your words ring true, but the your grammar and spelling does not reflect what a teacher should be expressing.

Kelly G said...

Melissa: Thank you. For your words here and the passion and professionalism you clearly bring to your classroom each and every day.

And thank you for pointing out the flaws inherent in an education system that prioritizes adult ideas over proper child development.

If you are ever here in Virginia, I'd love to buy you a glass of wine.

Kelly G said...

Melissa: Thank you. For your words here and the passion and professionalism you clearly bring to your classroom each and every day.

And thank you for pointing out the flaws inherent in an education system that prioritizes adult ideas over proper child development.

If you are ever here in Virginia, I'd love to buy you a glass of wine.

Kelly G said...

Melissa: Thank you. For your words here and the passion and professionalism you clearly bring to your classroom each and every day.

And thank you for pointing out the flaws inherent in an education system that prioritizes adult ideas over proper child development.

If you are ever here in Virginia, I'd love to buy you a glass of wine.

Joe Snow said...

"Too me, there is never enough money that is spent on education. "

I think this is what the Governor was complaining about!!!

Joe Snow said...

Sorry to rain on this liberal teacher love fest, but until teachers are willing to accept that they are often (through Unions) part of the problem, America will continue to despise them!

Said as the son and brother of long term UFT members (who happen to agree with me)

technokat said...

Joe Snow said...
"Sorry to rain on this liberal teacher love fest, but until teachers are willing to accept that they are often (through Unions) part of the problem, America will continue to despise them!

Said as the son and brother of long term UFT members (who happen to agree with me)..."
...who has no evidence to back up this claim nor contributes anything of value to the discussion. You forgot that part, Joe Snow.

Gay McPhee said...

Eloquent, true, and BRAVO!

Sherman Coalition said...

Excellent points all! Amazing that many of the Governors's supporters swallow his financial koolaid and think he is doing a great job saving taxpayers $$$ while giving subsidies and tax breaks to the rich and their corporations. Don't give up on this! Hopefully Hillary will take you on as a campaign advisor for 2016 :)

compassiondave said...

Here's the problem (in your own words)...

"Too me, there is never enough money that is spent on education."

Lady, in the best Christie-esque tongue I can muster, "THERE AIN'T ENOUGH MONEY! DOES THE PHRASE, 'WE ARE BROKE,' HAVE ANY MEANING TO YOU!"

So thank you for your dedication, but it;s time to suck it up, and do your job. If you're not happy with it, there are plenty of college grads standing in line waiting for you to retire.

technokat said...

compassiondave said...

"Lady, in the best Christie-esque tongue I can muster, 'THERE AIN'T ENOUGH MONEY! DOES THE PHRASE, 'WE ARE BROKE,' HAVE ANY MEANING TO YOU!' "
First off, there is money...it's being mismanaged by your boy in Trenton. Secondly, I don't see NJ citizens giving up all the luxuries they can "somehow" afford, including the McMansions. Instead, I hear complaints about the cost of paying into a society in which they have rights and freedoms to have luxurious lifestyles all the while buying, buying, buying everything necessary for these lifestyles. The priorities are upside-down. Until I see the majority of NJ's upper and upper-middle class waiting in food bank lines, WE ARE NOT BROKE.

"So thank you for your dedication, but it;s time to suck it up, and do your job. If you're not happy with it, there are plenty of college grads standing in line waiting for you to retire."
That's a great way to educate communities: Place novice teachers in every classroom and hope they will stay in the job when the likes of you begin to berate them for being public workers. The sad truth is that the majority will quit after the first five years, and there go the strength of our communities. You ought to read up on serfdom since your children will be living this life once you replace all the experienced teachers with novices. Please do everyone a favor and stay away from the polls today.

Holly Loiselle said...

I am so happy that Governor Dayton understands teachers and ran on a platform to make education even better in Minnesota. I am thankful Governor Dayton listens and doesn't get defensive about education issues. He makes us proud to be public educators. I hope you NJ folks can elect an official who speaks to you and our profession soon. Teachers vote. Votes count.

Terri DiOrio said...

Melissa Tomlinson, YOU ROCK!

Bobbettyworld said...

Ms.Tomlinson, I think you are right on target with Christy siphoning school funds into the hands of large corporations who then ship their money offshore in order to evade their taxes being paid within the US. And BTW no one has a right to speak to anyone the way he answered you. I felt so angry and embarrassed about his behavior. I'm sure you were too.

Looks like most of the money will be going into this fatass narcissists' belly!

We are so grateful for teachers like you who stand up for our children and take time out of your already overwhelming schedule to do the right thing!

Thank you so much for caring!

Babbette Labes

Griselda Almaguer said...

My daughter is currently in college to become a teacher and I will have her post this letter on her wall to inspire her to be as awesome as you are and to remind her that she is not the only one out there trying to make a difference in this world. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!

jp14 said...

I hope you and your fellow teacher's the parents the college age students an high schoolers old enough to vote have gotten the msg. an go to the polls an vote mr. christie out of office.

lee m said...

Dear Ms Tomlinson,
You are courageous! Thank you for standing up to the bully. May the force be with you!

Vickie Powell said...

Well said! When was the last time a politician set foot in a classroom for any length of time to see what schools are really like?! Yet, state politicians continue to promote bills that cut public education budgets, promote failing charter schools, and tie teachers' hands with assessments & paper work, instead of allowing them to teach!

technokat said...

Alas, the bully stays in power and the majority of voters in the state of NJ are fools. I am embarrassed for my state.

Damselfly said...

Thank you for a well written letter expressing what so many of us feel. This year, for the first time in about 20 years, we do not have to give state tests, as we wait for the CA science NGSS to come on board. I actually have time to teach. We have been able to do projects, discuss topics in detail and reteach when necessary. These were all things I didn't have time to do before due to serious time constraints.
Each year I have been teaching I have felt less appreciated, more stressed out and less effective as a teacher. I love to teach, but the politics and the lack of respect have made me dread Monday mornings and count the days to retirement. I still try to give my students my all, but with more and more administrative duties being foisted off on teachers, I have less and less time to devote to the job I was trained to do. Governor Christie needs to learn how to listen and care about his constituents, even when they don't agree with him. As a teacher his temper and his ego would do him little service.

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LW115 said...

Govenor Christie has no regard for anyone but himself. Looks like the majority of people living in NJ have no brains, and now we are stuck with this person for another term. I think it is time to move out of NJ and bring my family to better place to live, because it is going to get worse now.

technokat said...

LW115 said...
"Govenor Christie has no regard for anyone but himself. Looks like the majority of people living in NJ have no brains, and now we are stuck with this person for another term. I think it is time to move out of NJ and bring my family to better place to live, because it is going to get worse now."
Fear not. If he had total control over the legislature, we would go the way of North Carolina and Wisconsin, but we need to keep after our lawmakers to not give in to this man. His eye is on the national stage--he must appeal to the far-right conservatives to get a chance. I think we'll see a lot of fighting in the next 2-4 years.

Christina Jay said...

The important sentiment and examples were, for me, largely overshadowed by distracting grammatical errors and weak composition skills. I felt like I was reading the writing of a tenth grader. Like the state of our schools, this makes me sad.

Gud Momma said...

Grate letter! I hope my too kids get Ms. thomlinson for there teatcher next year because me and my husband want them to get the best posible education in the state of new Jersy from the bestest teacher. Good gramer is imperitive to lern young.

Steve Schwartz said...

Christie is an excellent politician.He knows teachers will not support him so he has nothing to lose.His tactic of divide and conquor pitting one group against another is classic.Barbara Buono was the only one who had the guts to run against him.Her campaign was very poorly executed.Christie and his cohorts are going after the Camdens because they are the easiest to get through having no tax base.Religious schools will be next to get funding Catholic,Jewish,Muslim, and any other religious institution.Monitoring of these schools will be minimal leaving them to teach whatever they want.Public School personnel better learn politics fast or the changes may be too late.This is a war and only the best will survive Teachers you better do your homework because you are failing miserably

vancouverizer said...

Lack of school funding is rampant all over the US and Canada. Unfortunately, there are lots of teachers (like yourself) that care too much and governments take advantage of that. One example: How many times have you heard that teachers are buying supplies for their students, or feeding them with their *own* money? It just seems like this sad state of affairs gets worse each year. So depressing.

Citizens For Democracy said...

CHRISTIE GAVE UNCONSTITUTIONAL ANTI-BULLYING LAW TO 8-15YRS OLD TO MAKE THEIR LIFE HELL
The ill-educated absentee Governor Christie along with ill-educated Lawmakers in Senate and Assembly passed an Anti-Bullying Law one size fits all for 8yrs old to 28yrs old Student in Jan. 2011. The law was passed without reading it, without caring for the emotional, mental and physical well being as well as self esteem of 8 to 14 years old students. To Fight this gross injustice one needs $15,000.00 to $30,000.00 and more than one year to get the record straight. The ill-educated unionized Law makers of New Jersey; majority are attorneys have deliberately crafted this Bill to fill up the pockets of Attorneys and in some cases their own pockets if they are practicing attorneys in School Related Matters.
READ THE FULL STORY
http://americafraud.blogspot.com/2013/09/BullyingLawofNewJerseyIsUnconstitutional.html
ALSO READ THE NAMES OF THE LAWMAKERS WHO HAVE ADMITTED THEY NEVER READ THE BILL BEFORE SIGNING IT. THEIR EXCUSE: “NO ONE READES THE BILL IT WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEYS SO WE SIGNED IT.

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Holly said...

Thank you for standing up to another bully governor! I am a teacher from New Mexico and our governor, Susana Martinez, might as well be Chris Christie's twin. We teachers, too, are being bullied, our students overtested, our schools underfunded, and our profession being co-opted by ignorant politicians and business people. It is disgraceful that teachers are being demonized in the public eye - we are people who have given our working lives in the service of children. Support us, support our students, honor us, and honor our students.

donilo said...

Christie represents just about everything dispicable that has come to be known as "American." He (his kind of person) is known to billions of people in the world who revile him and what he stands for.

You, on the other hand, represent the best that still lies within so many TRUE Americans; the kind of people who actually care about others, fight for the rights of others, and base your life on commitment to morals and ethics. These are things that cretans such as Christie fail to even comprehend.

Thank you for how you've handled this sorry affair and for the life you've given to so many children to give them hope and skills.

Bless you.

doug

Tali said...

There is a gramatical typo in the third paragraph. "too me" should be "to me".

I'm not picking on you but people who oppose you will be sure to point out any grammar errors a teacher makes.

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Hi
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