James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

Why Chris Christie’s war may determine America’s future

December 20, 2010

Why the combative governor of New Jersey must succeed in dismantling the NJ teachers unions:

There are many teachers who inspire students. And then there’s Curtis Robinson, the sort of teacher who inspires tenure reformers. During his 18 years teaching disabled students in Paterson, Robinson hurled classroom chairs, punched a boy in the chest for failing to do his homework and shoved another kid against a blackboard until he cried, staff and students said.

Robinson still insists he had a gift with children. But he admits that using cocaine after school early in his career sometimes made him “preoccupied.” “Immediately after work, I’d have a line or two,” he told The Record in August. “I been teaching so long, you can function with your eyes closed.”

That’s probably true, thanks to the extensive job protections for teachers in New Jersey. Because Robinson was tenured, it took more than four years of legal proceedings to fire him, costing the state more than $100,000 in legal costs.

Please, read the whole thing.

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