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NJ’s Christie to propose longer school day, year

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is set to unveil a plan to increase the amount of time children spend in public school.

The Associated Press has obtained excerpts of Christie’s State of the State speech scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. He’ll propose lengthening the school day and the school year. He says children who spend more time in school are better prepared academically.

The proposal could antagonize the powerful public teachers’ union, with which Christie has clashed over pension and tenure changes.

Christie hopes to shift focus from a political payback scandal threatening to damage his second term and national ambitions. The Legislature and U.S. attorney’s office are investigating a plot to create traffic jams apparently to punish Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor.

Christie has apologized for the traffic jams, calling his staff’s behavior “stupid” and saying he didn’t know.