Gov. Chris Christie Tuesday denied that his visit last week to a high-tuition private school in Lakewood was an indication that he’s ignoring the township’s struggling public school system.
Christie said he will make a future trip to a Lakewood public school but didn’t answer a question about what the state might do to help fix the public schools.
Christie criticized Asbury Park Press editorials on the topic.
“Yeah, I’ve read your inflammatory editorials in the paper,” Christie said during a press conference in Hackensack on an unrelated topic. “Listen, the fact of the matter is they wanted me to visit the public schools when the public schools aren’t open. That makes sense. I’ll go walk around an empty school.”
“The fact is, I’ve visited dozens and dozens of schools, mostly in challenged school districts like Lakewood. And I’m sure I’ll come to visit Lakewood at some point but I’m certainly not going to visit Lakewood because you guys are moaning and complaining in the newspaper about it. I’ll come to visit the public schools in Lakewood when it’s an appropriate time for me to do it.”
Last Thursday, Christie was in Lakewood briefly for an invitation-only visit of the School For Children with Hidden Intelligence. School districts like Lakewood place students at the private school, paying a state-certified tuition rate of about $90,000 per year.
“To be critical of what they’re doing at the School for Children of Hidden Intelligence – I wonder if any of you have been there and visited it and seen the amazing things that these teachers are doing with children who have extraordinary developmental disabilities, trying to teach them how to reach their fullest potential,” Christie said. “Now, of course, it’s expensive…literally giving them almost 1-on-1 treatment. Which if you look at these children and talk to the parents of these children, that’s what they need to reach their fullest potential.”
“So I think it’s kind of unseemly for people to be complaining about that. These are the same people by the way who don’t complain we’re spending $24,000 per pupil per year in Newark for regular public education that’s yielding a 23 percent high school diploma graduation rate in that city. I’d like to hear your newspaper complain a little bit more about that, then to complain about a school that’s actually providing results for families who have significantly compromised children. I’m not going to back away from my commitment from giving those families the help that they need. I visited that school because it’s doing extraordinary work for those families.”
Christie said he will make a stop at a Lakewood public school but didn’t say when.
“You guys want me to visit the public schools there? Well, I’ll get around to it, don’t worry about it. I visit a lot of public schools,” he said.
Source: ASBURY PARK PRESS