Governor Chris Christie is at CPAC. He’s trying to make a case that he should be the Republican nominee for president. One of the issues that will dog Christie is that he willingly signed onto the Race to the Top program. RTTT is the Obama administration’s coercive program that bribed states to sign onto Common Core education standards in exchange for cash. States need cash. This “free” money comes with federal strings.
But Republicans can’t be seen to be in favor of something Obama has created. Now Gov. Christie needs to distance himself from that entanglement. At CPAC he said,
“In New Jersey we’ve always been for the standards, for high standards, and we had standards beforehand,” Christie replied. “My concern now as we travel toward implementation is not only the heavy foot of the federal government coming in, but it is not doing all that we need to have done in New Jersey.”
“So it was all teed up when I came in by Governor Corzine,” he said. “We signed on and tried to get funds during a really difficult fiscal time.”
“Regrets, do you have regrets?” Ingraham asked.
“Sure, or course,” Christie responded.
“Political regrets?” she pressed.
“Implementation regrets,” he said. “Unlike other people who just get to talk about this stuff, we actually have to do it. Once you start to do it, what I’ve seen — the concerns that I have are significant — and I set a commission up that is now coming back to me with some recommendations, but my charge to them is that we have to keep government at the local level.”
“With education it is most important to have parents involved, there have to be teachers involved as a part of this process and it needs to be part of this process and will be I think as we move forward in New Jersey,” Christie added.
It’s laughable that Christie extols the need for teachers to be involved in the process. If one thing can be learned from Christie’s tenure as New Jersey’s chief executive it’s that he loathes teachers. Trust me, I am okay with that, but to now call them as necessary to the process is disingenuous. It’s similar to the calls others make that things are “good for the children”; it rings hollow.
Christie is either incompetent or a liar. Everyone knew that RTTT came with federal entanglements.
In June 2010, I wrote this question for state senator Jeff Van Drew:
New Jersey is in the process of applying for Race to the Top grants. The United States Constitution states that if it does not specifically delegate a right to the federal government, it falls to the states or the people. Education is not a fundamental right as held by SCOTUS. Why should New Jersey play along with the federal government to get this money? Doesn’t it weaken the state by subjecting it to the feds?
In January of that year, I wrote:
For that, NJEA should rightly be criticized. That, however, does not mean we should embrace the Race to the Top grants. Once again, the federal government is imposing itself in education. The Constitution is clear that the federal government has no role in this issue. So why is it taking our tax dollars and giving it to the states?
Just think if that money was not taken from taxpayers by D.C., but rather went directly to Trenton. Immediately, one level of slippage would be removed. Secondly, the same $400 million would be available for education in New Jersey. The difference? No federal strings attached. Not only the performance pay (There’s plenty to say about the issue, but that will be another post. Suffice it to say that I am all for it in theory, but I have plenty of real world experience that provides me pause in how it would be enacted.) but also all the other federal regulation that comes with money from D.C. These are all non-education costs that take dollars away from the classroom.
We need to keep governments focused on their roles. The federal government’s role is not to grant $400 million to schools in New Jersey. Furthermore, its role is not to influence education funding policy. This is New Jersey’s policy and one it should establish without Potomac’s heavy hand.
Yet, it has taken Christie five years to learn this. This is not someone who should be entrusted with control of our country.
Christie is switching gears for his personal political career. Think of the millions he is affecting because of that. When he wasn’t running for president, he thought one way. When he decided to run, he feels another. Where are his principles?