CHRISTIE: Well, it is, it is … all the things I've talked to you about tonight, are merely the prelude to the biggest fight. And the biggest fight is to reform an education system that is built for the comfort of adults not for the challenge of children.(Here's some rhetorical consistency for you, either purposeful or accidental: Gov. Christie's line, "No life is disposable anywhere in New Jersey. No life is disposable" is echoed in Rev. Jackson's op-ed in NJ Spotlight, "NJ's Disposable Children.")
And it's built that way because we have tenure system that says after three years and a day, you have a job for life. And that there's no accountability for how well you're doin' your job or how poorly. I mean, let's face it, everybody. There are only two professions left in America where there are no rewards for failure and no - no rewards for success - and no consequences for failure. Maybe three, if you include Congress. [laughter] But there are only two left: teachers and weathermen. [laughter] Now, with weathermen it usually means an inconvenience, you know? Like you take the umbrella and it doesn't rain, or vice versa. Right? Teacher's a whole different thing. You know, the educational establishment of New Jersey says, "He's too impatient. He's too brusque. He's too blunt." Guess what? I am impatient. 'Cuz my daughter, she only has one year in the third grade. When she's got a lousy teacher up at the front of that classroom, she's behind when she goes to fourth grade. And fifth grade. And sixth grade. And unless she has an extraordinary teacher or I pay for tutors, she's never catchin' up.
Now, we see this in the cities in my state everywhere. In the city of Newark we spend $24,000 per pupil per year. And of the kids who went to the ninth grade this year in Newark, 23% of them will graduate with a high school degree in four years. Twenty-three percent. And of that 23%, 90% of them have to take remedial class work for a year to qualify to sit in a college classroom.
In the city of Asbury Park we spend nearly $30,000 per pupil per year for the public schools. And in the Asbury Park high school less than 50% of the students can do math at an eighth grade level.
My party sometimes thinks I'm crazy talkin' about this, cause they say, "Chris, you've got like 25 votes in Newark. Ya know, what are you spending all this political capital on places that don't vote for you?" What I said to 'em is, "No life is disposable anywhere in New Jersey. No life is disposable." [applause]
So I want to pay teachers more. I want to pay the good ones more. I want to carry 'em on our shoulders to school every day because they're building America's future leaders. But in return I want the lousy ones shown the door. They don't belong in the teaching profession and they're hurting our children. And I don't understand why this is so difficult. It is because we care more about how we're perceived by the teaching profession than we care about the results.