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Scandal-plagued Chris Christie proposes longer school day

Embattled New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will propose a longer school day and extending the school calendar in his State of the State speech Tuesday, as he tries to shift attention away from the bridge scandal which threatens to derail his second term and presidential ambitions.

"Our school calendar is antiquated both educationally and culturally," Christie said in excerpts of the speech obtained by NBC News before the address. "Life in 2014 demands something more for our students. It is time to lengthen both the school day and school year in New Jersey."

Christie described the proposal as a "key step to improve student outcomes, and boost our competitiveness."

The State of the State address comes less than a week after the bridge scandal was uncovered. It has swamped Christie’s administration following the release of internal emails and text messages which suggested that the governor’s aides arranged to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge last September.

It was widely suggested that the closures were intended to punish a Democratic mayor who did not endorse Christie’s nomination for reelection.

In another headache for the governor, New Jersey Democrat Rep. Frank Pallone said Monday that a federal agency will investigate whether the state improperly spent Hurricane Sandy relief money on an ad campaign that featured Christie while he was running for re-election.

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