September 25, 2010 - I’m Coming: Governor Christie on Education Reform

 Governor Christie speaks about education reform following a screening of the movie Waiting for Superman on Saturday, September 25, 2010.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkaJL02Zu9Y



GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: You just watched that film and so did I. (inaudible) and you should be too because what we saw on that screen, is not what America was and what America needs to be. And so I’m going to fight, I’m going to fight as hard as I can against those who saw it is not possible. I’m going to fight as hard as I can against those who believe that that is the status quo we’re protecting. I’m going to fight as hard as I can, and I’m willing to go down for the fight. But I can no longer live in a state that allows the obscenity of what is happening here. I can no longer, nor would I want to, lead a state that decides that someone who can’t teach must stay in the classroom. That a child, who is neglected in one of our schools, must just accept it because of their zip code, because their parents can’t afford to send them to a better option. There is nothing more important to the future of our state and the future of our country than this fight, because this is the fight that will define all of the other fights – the fights for America to remain a dominant force for good in the world, the fights for New Jersey to become once again an economic engine for our region and our country, the fight for us to look in the mirror every morning and continue to define ourselves as a good and decent people. This is the fight. And sometimes the fight will be angry, and sometimes the fight will be loud, and sometimes the fight will draw tears, and sometimes the fight will require embrace. But for those of you who do not have the stomach for that fight, I would ask you to go home today and ask yourselves why. Because if you were not moved by what you just saw and the plight of those children and their families, then I wonder why you’re here today.

[Applause]

All I know is this: I would not be standing here today if it wasn’t for the fact that my parents had the opportunity to send me to the public schools that gave me the best possible education I could have. In each one of us, there is a certain God-given ability, but that God-given ability will take us only so far. We need someone to nurture it and to draw it out of us. It happens every day in the best schools, and in the best homes, and with the best parents, but it also has to happen by transforming the worst schools by nurturing and loving children who come from not the best homes and by demanding that the teachers, the principals, the administrators, put them first, and not concern for themselves. If we don’t do that, then we will continue to play the blame game, we will continue to make excuses, and we will continue to believe we are better than we are. I love the fact that American children have confidence, I only wish that we were given the tools to have that confidence bring the success that confidence has brought to us in the past. And since yesterday when myself, and the mayor, and Mark Zuckerberg announced our partnership, you already hear, already hear, the naysayers. You already hear the people threatening lawsuits, the people speaking out against a true act of generosity, inspired by the hope to make life better for the children of this city.

[Applause]

So I have a message. I have a message for the politicians who have decided that their careers are more important than our children: I’m coming.

[Applause]

I have a message for the lawyers who have made a lifetime out of suing us into failure: I’m coming.

[Applause]

I have a message, I have a message much more important for the parents of the city of Newark who want the very best for their children, a message for the children of the city of Newark who want hope that tomorrow will be better than today, and as that woman put so appropriately, that they just don’t want a job, they want a career - I have a message for them too. And it’s much better than the messages that I just gave to those other folks.

[Laughter]

It’s not I’m coming, I pray we’re coming.

[Applause]

We’re coming. And I appreciate that applause, but it’s the easiest part of the game.

[Laughter]

The clapping part is easy. It is now time to engage in the fight, it is long overdue, and everybody’s got a different role to play in this fight. But let me tell you what mine will be: I will not accept failure as an option, and I would rather lose the election, lose my career…than have to look in the mirror and say that I decided that my career was more important than the future lives of the children of the city where I was born.

[Applause]

And so the folks who want to sue – I said this to Mr. Zuckerberg yesterday – tell them get a ticket to the back of the line.

[Laughter]

The folks who want to put politics ahead of this fight, I’ll play politics with them too. I’ve proven not to be too bad at it –

[Laughter]

-- and for all of you who want to be a part of this, we’re opening up the door and giving you the opportunity to stand up and fight for a better future for Newark, a better future for the state of New Jersey, and a better future for our country. It’s up to you, it’s up to you. I’m going to be with you. There’s nothing that’s more important to me than turning around the obscenity of this failure into a future of success for all of our kids, and we’ve got to start somewhere, so we’re going to start here. And if we can build here a model of success, and let’s face it - we’ve seen it, we don’t have to reinvent it - we just have to have the courage to impose it. It’s time. And so I’m thrilled to be here today with all of you, I really am. And my ten year-old son, Patrick, has a hockey game right now, and asked me why I wasn’t coming to the hockey game this afternoon - he’s playing goalie for the first time, and he is very excited. He said, ‘Dad, I can’t believe you’re not coming to the game, where are you going?’ And I said to him, ‘I’m going to help some other kids.’ And he said, ‘Which ones?’ And I said, ‘I’m going to help some kids in Newark.’ And he looked at me and said, ‘Where the train station is?’

[Laughter]

He used to go down and get me a bunch of times when I used to come home from Washington, D.C. I said, ‘Yeah Patrick, where the train station is.’ He let out a big sigh and he said, ‘Well…I’m not really happy about it Dad, but if you’re doing something good, that’s ok.’

[Laughter]

You know, we all have to look at our children and decide whether we’re going to be able to say to them, ‘We’re doing something good.’ Not only for you, but it’s our moral obligation to do something good for all of our kids. And it’s time. So, I thank you for taking time out of your Saturday afternoon to come here and watch this, and participate in our panel discussion. We have some great people here who are committed to our city, who are committed to our state, but more importantly, are committed to our children. And nobody in this game is perfect, and we are all flawed, but if we bring with us the spirit of putting our children truly first, and being willing to fight the fight that’s going to be necessary to move them from where they are - as depicted in that incredible movie - to where we need them to be, then we should hold hands together, overlook the flaws and differences we have with each other, and understand that the common purpose that we’re all attempting to serve is too important to let petty differences divide us. So, I’m happy to bring Mr. Richard Roeper to the stage, who will be the moderator for our panel. I want to thank the panel members who are going to participate, and most of all, especially on a day like today, I want to thank Mayor Booker and Mark Zuckerberg for their willingness to partner with me…to try, to try… to make a difference on the subject that is the most important one that we have in front of us in our country. Mr. Zuckerberg could’ve picked anywhere, he picked here.

Governor Christie on Morning Joe (Part 2)



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