Here’s some choice bits from press coverage of Christie’s pick for N.J. Commissioner of Education. Not surprisingly, much of it focuses on juxtaposition of a school choice advocate unafraid to piss off the leadership of NJEA. The New York Times, for instance, says,
The man once described by teachers’ union leaders as “the antithesis of everything we hold sacred about public education” was chosen to serve as state education commissioner by Governor-elect Christopher J. Christie on Wednesday.PolitickerNJ gets nostalgic: "In 1993, a Wall Street Journal editorial identified Schundler as the National Education Association’s “Public Enemy #1” because of his school voucher initiative," and Bill Pascoe at CQ Politics reminisces about Schundler’s appearance before the NJEA when he ran for governor. He “told them some uncomfortable truths…I've never forgotten the response from the teachers' union's leader, which was something along the lines of, "I congratulate Mayor Schundler for having the courage to come here. And I congratulate our teachers for not throwing their knives and forks at him."
The Star-Ledger catches Schundler in a hopeful mood: "Schundler, who gained national attention in the 1990s as Republican mayor of the Democratic bastion of Jersey City, is a longtime advocate of school choice. Schundler said there's bipartisan support for charter schools and merit pay for teachers, despite opposition from the teachers union, the New Jersey Education Association."
The Record captures the post-partisan nature of education reform: "Schundler sounded conciliatory on Wednesday, saying his goals as education commissioner would be in line with those set out by the Obama administration in the Race to the Top program that could bring more than $200 million in federal stimulus money to the state."
Matt Friedman of PolitickerNJ quotes Democrat Shelley Skinner, Director of Developpment at the Learning Community Charter School: “I think it sends a message to the quote unquote education establishment that there is change coming."
And Tom Moran is worth reading from beginning to end. Here's a tease:
The NJEA’s grip over education policy, in other words, is slipping. They are standing still, trying to block these reforms, while the world around them changes.
“I am reminded that Rip Van Winkle slept through a revolution,”[Reverend Reginald] Jackson said today as he endorsed the Schundler appointment. “I think the NJEA will be left behind.”