Sunday, August 14, 2011

Conversations with Candidates: K-12 Teacher Marie Corfield Wants to Shake Things Up in New Jersey

If you are a candidate running for office (city, state, or at the national level) and would like to be promoted by AEM, please contact me at All candidates will have the opportunity to review the material I publish about them, so none of your words will be misconstrued. I'm happy to be of assistance in spreading the word about your candidacy, your values,  and what you intend to do once elected. Last year, I interviewed Kevin Bradley (who ran as a Democrat for the House of Representatives), Rick Staggenborg,, and Jim Holbert. Last week, I interviewed David Hunsicker who hopes to kick out the rascally, destructive Eric Cantor. 

Marie Corfield was frustrated by Governor Christie's unrelenting attacks on teachers and their unions. She decided to speak her mind at a Republican filled town hall meeting at Raritan Township in 2010. She said what she had to say. Listen to how Governor Christie responds in a condescending and aggressive way below (that's his style apparently - classy and professional, if you ask me.).

Corfield received a lot of hateful messages for simply speaking her mind and, in my view, the truth about what Christie and the Republicans are doing to public education in the state of New Jersey. She was cut off at the end of that clip, and apparently said, "It was you who accused us of using our students as drug mules. And now I have to go back to work." With that, she left, but told me, "You know, I walked out of there with my head held high."

Here's another clip of Corfield discussing that exchange with Governor Christie on Fox & Friends. While I think that the interview was pretty neutral, I am at a loss to understand why the "huge" salary that teachers make (66K - gasp! That's soooooooo excessive) kept being brought up. I guess we should be paying public school teachers, like, $20,000 or less a year, right?!?

In the longer clip, it appears that Christie demolishes Corfield. But for people like Corfield and supporters of public education the issues are more nuanced. As explained in this NYT article, public union leaders all over the country have often bargained with rank and file members to forgo pay raises in exchange for enhanced benefits (i.e., higher pension contributions, a better health care plan, etc., etc.). So when Christie asks teachers to contribute more to their pension fund, what he's really asking is teachers to take a pay cut in order to pay for the state's financial mismanagement.

If Ford Motor Company signs a contract with, let's say, Rental Car Company X to deliver mid-sized sedans at $15,0000 a year for the next 5 years, and then three years into the contract, Ford says, "we're not doing so well. We need to raise the cost of the car to, uh, $17,000." What the hell is Rental Car Company X to do? They didn't mismanage the funds! Ford did. But in this case, it's even worse. Here, Christie and his allies are asking public employees to sacrifice for the following reasons: (a) their lack of foresight, (b) their unwillingness to raise taxes, (c) and their inability to manage a budget in tough times. In addition, public employees, on average, make less than people with the same education levels in the private sector.

In any event, I spoke with Corfield on August 12th. Stay tuned for that conversation.

Related Links

"Conversations with Candidates: David Hunsicker," AEM (August 10, 2011)

"Relaunching Conversations with Candidates" AEM (August 9, 2011)

1 comment:

sandinbrick said...

Good for her, he is a thug and disrespected her. But Christie didn't realized that the smackdown that he gave her would come to bite him. I hope she finally gets her day, for the teachers that did not start this mess, but rather the deregulation of the Banks and tax credits to the Corporations, and the Bush tax cuts. Republicans want us all to work for slave wages.