Friday, April 25, 2014

Chris Christie's Curious Commencement Speech

Rowan University, in Glassboro, NJ, will present Governor Chris Christie with an honorary degree and Christie will present the commencement address to this year’s graduating class. The invitation has stirred controversy among supporters of public education and Rowan grads, including a Change.org petition asking Rowan to rescind the invite. Some educators question the appropriateness of inviting the Governor, who has shown his disdain for teachers, teacher unions and who has labeled urban schools “failure factories”, to speak at the commencement of at this public institution, which has as a central mission the educating of future public school teachers.

In our never ending search for truth, justice and the American Way, the Russ on Reading blog has discovered a draft of Governor’s Christie’s commencement speech in a stack of documents released by the lawyers the Governor hired to whitewash, ahem, I mean investigate, Bridgegate. Here is the draft as we discovered it.

Dear Rowan Class of 2014,

It is a pleasure for me to be here today on this lovely South Jersey campus. In fact, it is a pleasure for me to be anywhere that is at least 100 miles away from the George Washington Bridge. Heh. Heh. Heh.

I want to thank the Rowan Board of Directors and especially Rowan President, Dr. Ali Houshmand, for inviting me and for the honorary degree. I understand that Dr. Houshmand has been under some intense criticism since he decided to invite me, but don’t worry, Ali, if you lose this job, I have some openings at the Port Authority to fill. Heh.Heh.Heh.

Now, to those of you who have decided to use masking tape to spell out “Christie Sucks” on top of your mortarboards, with my reputation as a bully you might expect to get a rise out of me with that stunt. But I am a bigger man than that, literally. I would, however, like you to meet my new Director of Security, Bridget Kelly. Bridget just sent me a text that read, “Time for some graduation problems in Glassboro.” Heh.Heh.Heh.

Now, I know some of you graduates will be going into careers in business, engineering, public relations, performing arts and the sciences. I hope you know that New Jersey is proud of you, welcomes you and hopes you stay in New Jersey to contribute to the growth of this great state.

But of course many of you are looking to go into public education. And to tell you the truth, I can’t imagine why. If there is one message that I can proudly say I have managed to get across in my 5 years in office, it is that well-trained certified teachers are not welcome in New Jersey. I have cut money to public education; I have vilified the teacher unions; I am after your job protections; I am after your pensions; I am closing the “failure factories” in Newark and Camden. I have yelled at teachers who ask me questions at my political rallies.

Don’t you idiots get it? New Jersey is not a place for professional educators. What is my advice to those of you graduating with teacher certification? Move to some other state. That’s what all the well-qualified school superintendents are doing. I drove them out. I can drive you out. Of course, your choices of states are limited. The governors of North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Arizona don’t want you either. Maybe that pantywaist Jerry Brown will take you in California.

Now if some of you business, engineering and science graduates out there would like to join Teach for America and help us turn around those “failure factories” in the inner-city, of course, you are welcome. Nothing says lovin’ to a poverty stricken inner-city child like a temporary teacher with five weeks of training and no real interest in the profession of teaching. I like the idea of temporary teachers. Low salaries. No unions. No pensions. It is a boon to the state budget. Besides, parents who really care about their kids’ education send the kids to private school, just like me and Mary Pat do. Oops. That should be “Mary Pat and I .” My teachers at Livingston High School would get on me for that one. Heh. Heh. Heh.

So, congratulations, graduates. I look forward to bringing your youth and enthusiasm into play as we move forward in New Jersey. And to you future teachers out there? Well, the George Washington Bridge is not blocked anymore. I suggest you use it to get out of here, because as I told that pesky teacher Melissa Tomlinson during my campaign, “I’m tired of you people.”