New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has not been a friend to educators in the Garden State. His feud with the NJ teachers union, his proposals to “reform” education and his references to teachers as “welfare queens” have won him the ire (to put it mildly) of not only teachers, but of anyone involved with education (administrators, school psychologists, janitors, to name a few), not to mention parents. So it’s hard not to be surprised that, speaking at commencement exercises for Seton Hall University earlier today, Christie got booed.
The Star-Ledger says that the Hall’s education college was not very happy to have the “anti-education” governor speaking:
Someone who is making it difficult for (the graduates) to get a job is speaking as they get their diplomas,” Joseph DePierro, dean of Seton Hall’s education college, told the Setonian, the school paper.
I have a feeling that Christie, a 1987 graduate of Seton Hall Law School, probably didn’t mind getting a less than hearty welcome from some in Seton Hall’s community (Seton Hall President Gabriel Esteban made “no apologies” for inviting Christie). Christie’s blunt, blustering words are part of his appeal (to some). Indeed, he urged the 2,281 graduates to be “disrupters” just like him:
Christie urged the students to celebrate their accomplishments and take their graduation seriously.
“From your cheers — and your other expressions — I can tell that you are not taking it lightly,” Christie said, acknowledging the jeers.
The governor used his 16-minute speech to talk about a recent New York Times Magazine cover that labeled him “The Disrupter” for his combative attempts to challenge the status quo in New Jersey. He urged the students to be “disrupters,” like him, in their own lives.
“Be a disrupter in the way that your heart and your mind tells you to be a disrupter,” Christie said.
Funny but last time I checked, it doesn’t usually bode so well for students to be “disruptive” in class. While students could be “acting up” due to learning difficulties (I know — my autistic teenage son has his share of “behavior issues”), I have a feeling that, were Christie to be in charge of a classroom of said “disrupters”/students, he wouldn’t be so encouraging about being “disruptive” like him. Maybe he’d throw out a few choice words to get the students to “behave” or deal with something not to his liking by doing what he did to the Hudson Tunnel project: Just saying no, cancel, just get rid of it, rather than the day-by-day work it takes to teach a young mind to learn.
Photo by Hoboken Condos.