A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Governor's Office and School Boards Association Oppose Student Protests

Many NJ students used Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking techniques on Thursday to organize protests against drastic cuts to state aid for education, according to NJ.com.

Governor Christie's office and the NJ School Boards Association quickly came out with statements opposing the interruption to classes caused by the protests, even though school administrators seemed to have matters well in hand. The Governor's spokesman even suggested that the teachers were behind the protests, saying, "Our concern is that some teachers are inappropriately framing this and using students to further a narrow and self-interested message."

In fact, NJ.com reported a series of peaceful rallies, including one being organized that was discovered by a Sussex County principal. The administrator was able to notify parents in advance and make sure things went smoothly once the protest began. "They were going to (protest) anyway," the principal told NJ.com. That principal went on to say that his students learned a lot in the process and he was quite proud of them. "It turned out to be a very educational experience for the kids on how to exercise their constitutional right" of assembly, he pointed out.

I recall a few student-led protests in my high school back in the day. I would have been offended if someone had suggested we were being manipulated by our teachers into organizing and voicing our concerns.

The Governor's spokesman is right when he says there are two sides to this story and that the debate should be taken seriously. Which begs the question why Christie's office is so willing to take the low road and accuse teachers of fomenting unrest in their own schools? As for the NJ School Boards Association, all I can say is that its members have become veritable Tea Party flag-waving Christie cheerleaders and ought to no longer be allowed to influence the direction of our children's education.


  1. "NJ School Boards Association . . . ought to no longer be allowed to influence the direction of our children's education."

    Uhm, you might want to reconsider that position. The NJSBA is an association of school board members, the only elected officials directly accountable for our children's education.

  2. I wouldn't draw too much attention to the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District Board of Education's accountability for the veritable dismantling of education in our community's schools. It's obvious to me that the BOE looked at the funding puzzle through Christie's narrow prism and selected the only option offered: they hacked away at program and personnel and kept taxes under control. The concept of preserving educational capacity by pressing at the edges of the possible never seemed to cross the board's mind. Looking at the Governor's entire budget to see what other choices he could have made besides cutting over $820 million from state aid to education never crossed their minds. In actual fact, the board wasn't disposed to strive for any alternative save cutting our hard-working administrators and teachers off at the knees. The BOE was already on board with the Governor's rabid hostility towards teachers and his scorched earth frenzy to save taxes, so what else was there to think about? The BOE could do nothing else; it was boxed in by rule after rule. After all, it was all there in black and white. We were in the red -- the Governor laid out the cards and we had to fold. We had no other choice.

    So, that's the position of "the only elected officials directly accountable for our children's education." No, I think I'm happy with my position to reject the NJSBA and its members for their utter ineffectiveness and their obvious support of Christie's ill-spirited effort to destroy our schools in order to save taxes.

  3. So, you're sticking by your position that an association of school board members should "no longer be allowed to influence the direction of our children's education."


  4. An association of school board members should train local school board members to function effectively, teaching best practices and holding seminars, etc. The NJSBA instead is advocating for the NJ Governor's political positions, taking sides against the teachers and administrators that operate local schools. Why do you see that as a net value to our community? If we had an association that functioned properly, I'd be all for it. I was quite supportive when we had board members who were active members of NJSBA. I detected no political fun and games from the association in that era. As it currently stands, no, I see no gain for our community in supporting NJSBA. You undoubtedly see things differently.

  5. Any truth to the rumor that some MARTA teachers are having the children write letters to Gov. Christie asking him WHY? WHY? WHY? Nice, teachers using the children as pawns...