Chris Christie, Randi Weingarten (and Bradley Cooper) on new Newark teachers contract

Here’s the video of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the MSNBC program “Morning Joe” Friday morning talking up the new teachers contract they negotiated in Newark, which was just ratified by members of the teachers union who had been working without a contract since 2010. 

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The contract is controversial in part because it allows merit pay for teachers deemed to be effective (an issue teachers have historically fought against in part because of complexities of determining who is really effective) and because the money to cover the extra pay is coming from the private sector.

To be specific, it is from the $100 million donation to Newark schools by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Christie said the deal couldn’t have happened without the Zuckerberg money and thanked the philanthropist; critics say that depending on the charity of billionaires is no way to run a public education system. Even with support from Weingarten — who noted that teachers now have an unprecedented role in the Newark teacher evaluation process as a result of the contract — some 38 percent of the union members who voted went against it.

A bonus for Bradley Cooper fans: The Georgetown University graduate was on the show too and stuck around to listen to the contract conversation, even asking a question.

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss | November 16, 2012