Gov. Chris Christie’s strange definition of ‘equality’

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has a strange definition of “equality.”

Shortly before the November election in which Christie was seeking a second term, he decided that undocumented young people who were brought to this country illegally as children and who graduated from New Jersey high schools –  commonly referred to as DREAMers — should get the same in-state rate for college tuition as legal residents. New Jersey’s version of the DREAM Act was pending in the legislature, and Christie sounded as though he was all for “tuition equality.”

He said:

I believe every child should be given the opportunity to reach their God-given potential…that’s a moral requirement. We need to get to work in the state legislature, on things like making sure that there’s tuition equality for everybody in New Jersey…

 

 

But as a tough Dec. 5 editorial in The Washington Post noted, his support lasted 44 days. After winning reelection, Christie decided that “tuition equality” does not extend to allowing these students — who, again, were brought here by their families when they were very young and consider the United States their only home — the right to receive state-funded financial aid.

He told the New Jersey legislature that he would not sign the state’s Dream Act unless the lawmakers removed a provision making undocumented students eligible for state-funded financial aid programs. Legislators, wanting to get something on the books rather than nothing, went along, and Christie signed the bill on Friday.

Christie, a potential 2016 Republican presidential nominee, got what he wanted: some equality, to appeal to Hispanic voters, but not so much so that he can’t still appeal, presumably, to conservative Republicans.  Interesting politics. Bad use of the word “equality.”

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss | December 21, 2013