“So this is the civil rights imperative of our time. This is it. And for those who want to stand in the way of it, maybe they are going to block us and stop us like they have so many times before but they have to live with the result of that.”
Governor Chris Christie, September 30, Old Bridge Town Hall Meeting
“Well, during the civil rights movement, they didn’t work everything out by sitting down collaboratively and compromising. Conflict was necessary in order to move the agenda forward.”
Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of schools, Washington D.C., Newsweek magazine, December 13
I was reading Michelle Rhee’s Newsweek article when I came across her words on civil rights and the education reform movement. They echoed what Gov. Christie said a few months earlier, comparing his education reform plan to the civil rights movement. Besides Michelle Rhee and Gov. Christie, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has also been quoted as viewing education reform as the civil rights movement of our era.
I have to confess when I first heard Christie make this statement I was shocked that it did not get more play in the media. Then again, when I first heard it, I thought that it was a bit of a political hyperbole. But now that several politicians of both parties are using this rhetoric there, it bears closer examination. (more…)