RTTT and N.J. Senate's Gay Marriage Grovel

In the Star-Ledger, Tom Moran condemns the Senate Democrats’ moral cowardice and inability to stand up to powerful lobbyists during last week’s vote on the gay marriage bill:
“The reason for that is we have not been bold enough,” [Ray] Lesniak said. “The Democratic Party has lost its moral compass. We have been timid.”

And, “Democrats have stepped around the big problems for a decade, hoping to just make it through the next election. They’ve never picked a fight with the overfed teachers union, and did nothing when salaries went up another 4 percent even during this Great Recession.”

And, “And if you want timidity, this is how bad it got yesterday: Sen. Steve Sweeney, who will soon take over as Senate president, didn’t even vote. As other senators reached for their voting buttons, he held his hands on his desk, staring ahead with a blank expression.

“That’s a real profile in courage,” one Democrat muttered.”
Now think about Race To The Top. School boards and superintendents will have their own vote on a civil rights issue with moral dimensions – equal educational opportunities for poor children – at the end of the week. Choice One: send in the Memoranda of Understanding by Thursday, electing to offer N.J.’s most deprived children a chance at hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds for education. Buck the status quo and anger the NJEA lobbyists who deplore RTTT’s emphasis on teacher accountability, expansion of charter schools, and educational reform. Choice Two: cower in fear before powerful lobbyists, masquerade pusillanimity as prudence, and throw the MOU in the trash.

Okay. Maybe it's a bit more nuanced than that. The N.J. DOE screwed up and threw this complex document at school districts without any meaningful time for comment and discussion. It failed to get buy-in from the NJEA leadership (arguably, it never would have gotten that anyway). It's a rushed job, there’s another round of applications in June. Nonetheless, school districts in New Jersey have a clear choice to make. Are we as spineless as the Senate Democrats? Or are we ready to stand up for kids?

Comic Update: Jay Leno commented on the N.J. Senate rejection of gay marriage and asked, "what's wrong with that? The last time a gay man got married there he went on to be governor." (hat tip: Politics Patrol.)

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