New Jersey governor Chris Christie is known for his temper and straight-talking attitude. Yesterday, at a rally dressed in Rutgers red, Christie wheeled on a public teacher who asked him a question. Melissa Tomlinson, a New Jersey teacher, spoke exclusively with Jersey Jazzman just hours after the exchange went viral.
I asked him: “Why do you portray our schools as failure factories?” His reply: “Because they are!” He said: “I am tired of you people. What do you want?”
I told him I want money for my students. He fought back with the amount that he has spent on education. My response was along the lines of the fact his amount was not actually an increase from the previous years, given the rate of inflation and other factors…The crowd started arguing with me. He screamed at me to just do my job. The crowd cheered for him. I just looked at them and told them: “Hey, this is my life. I had to do this.” I tried to follow him to Atlantic City to continue the conversation but the roads were blocked by police when I got there.
Tomlinson then spoke out on Mark Naison’s blog. The Badass Teacher Association co-founder was as furious as the hundreds of teachers who took to social media to talk about the event.
Dear Governor Christie,
Yesterday I took the opportunity to come hear you speak on your campaign trail. I have never really heard you speak before except for sound bytes that I get on my computer. I don’t have cable, I don’t read newspapers. I don’t have enough time. I am a public school teacher that works an average of 60 hours a week in my building. Yes, you can check with my principal. I run the after-school program along with my my classroom position. I do even more work when I am at home. For verification of this, just ask my children.
I asked you one simple question yesterday. I wanted to know why you portray NJ Public Schools as failure factories. Apparently that question struck a nerve. When you swung around at me and raised your voice, asking me what I wanted, my first response “I want more money for my students.” Notice, I did not ask for more money for me. I did not ask for my health benefits, my pension, a raise, my tenure, or even my contract that I have not had for nearly three years.
New Jersey residents, this Tuesday you get to decide if you want this man to continue representing you. I’m not saying you should form your decision off this one event but this sort of behavior is certainly worth thinking about. Please click the links above for the full articles. They are worth the read as are the blogs they appear on.
Edit: Melissa Tomlinson appeared on MSNBC’s The Ed Show 11/4/13.