Christie: Teachers union ‘single most destructive force’ in education
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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) says real education reform is impossible as long as teachers unions remain a powerful force for the status quo.
 
“The single most destructive force for public education in this country is the teachers union,” Christie said at a Jack Kemp Foundation panel discussion in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday. “It is the single most destructive force.”
 
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The Republican presidential candidate called the labor groups an “absolute subsidiary of the Democratic Party.”
 
“In New Jersey alone, the teachers union has 200,000 members, and they collect mandatory dues of $730 per person per year," he said. "That’s $140 million that the teachers union just in New Jersey collects a year, and they pay nothing toward teacher salary, teacher pension or teachers healthcare.
 
“It’s a $140 million political slush fund to be able to reward their friends and punish their enemies," he added. “Now imagine that kind of force and it’s replicated in state after state after state in this country.”
 
Christie said Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is “bought and paid for” by the unions. Clinton has been endorsed by the National Education Association, the largest labor union in the nation.
 
The governor also called the current mode of education “obsolete” and said schools need to incorporate innovative technologies into the classroom.
 
“Why are kids still carrying around, you know, 40-pound backpacks on their back? I see it with my kids every morning,” he said.
 
“Every kid should just be carrying an iPad. You can download instead of outdated books that you’re carrying around that are three or four years old, they could download the most current material, and they’re more comfortable working on that stuff than they are lugging those books around.”
 
The panel discussion in South Carolina was also attended by Republican primary candidates Jeb Bush and Ben Carson. It was moderated by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).