AMES, Iowa—New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie laid out his education platform at Iowa State University this morning.
If America wants to remain a force in education, Christie told a crowd of about 200 people, policy should be centered on three things.
“We need accountability. We need competition. And we need choice.”
Christie, who is considering a run for president in 2016, stressed parents—not union leaders or the education establishment—choose best in making decisions for the education of their children.
“I believe that America needs a president that will fight for parents and children,” Christie said.
Under Christie’s leadership in New Jersey, the governor said, his state was able to make gains in teacher tenure reform and public school choice.
In talking about the importance of hiring high-quality teachers, Christie, with students flanked behind him, used an example of how his fifth grade teacher made an impact in his life.
Christie mentioned that big achievements in America’s history began with education and teachers—including at Iowa State University, home to the invention of the first electronic digital computer.
“There might not be any simple solutions to education reform, but there are solutions,” Christie said. “[America] guarantees a chance at greatness.”
Christie, who is putting two of his children through college right now, shared insight from a parent perspective on higher education.
In the past 10 years, Christie said, pell grants have grown by 118 percent, while subsidized student loans have grown by 12 percent. Unsubsidized loans have grown by more than 150 percent, Christie claimed.
He discussed making higher education affordable (not free) and more transparent.
“People should be able to know in advance how colleges are spending our money, where their resources are going, and how they expect prices to change in the future,” Christie said.
Christie proposed that higher education become more imaginative and offer more educational options for students. This could include holding more evening and weekend classes to cater to more students.
Later today, Christie was headed to Hickory Park Restaurant in Ames to hold an event and he will address a crowd in West Des Moines this evening.
The topic of conversation is clear.
“People want to talk about education,” Christie said.