NJEA Shows Phil Murphy Who’s Boss: The Short Tenureship of Paula White

Laura Waters:

If Gov. Murphy fired Paula White because NJEA leaders told him to — when asked, the Governor’s office “would neither confirm nor deny” — then New Jersey has problems that go beyond the ousting of an eminently-qualified educational leader hand-selected by Repollet. (She worked with him in Asbury Park.) What else will Murphy’s allegiance to NJEA provoke him to do? After all, he may feel like he owes them big-time.

Why? During the campaign he promised the union that he’d get rid of PARCC on “Day One”; he promised he’d fully fund pensions; he promised he’d fully fund a broken school funding formula.

But the truth is that he can’t keep those promises. (See here.) And so, perhaps, when NJEA leaders objected to the selection of Paula White because of her association with DFER, Murphy, who had breached his contract with them, made a promise he could keep, even though that decision makes Repollet look far removed from the loop of state educational leadership, makes Murphy look like Pavlov’s dog when confronted with a whiff of dissension from his patron, and makes NJEA look like Pavlov himself, a metamorphosis it may welcome after a humiliating defeat of the $5 million campaign to unseat Senate President Steve Sweeney by replacing him with a Trump-supporting climate-change-denying immigration-foe.