Perhaps the most important thing to understand regarding the NJEA is that they regard virtually every election as a battle for survival. When evaluating candidates for Governor or the Legislature, there are three positions critical to them: 1) Opposition to school vouchers; 2) Continuance of the current teacher tenure rules; and 3) Guarantee of the promised future pension benefits to teachers.Art Albrizio, a former school administrator, argues in the Asbury Park Press that the current recession should have no impact on negotiated teacher salary increases because teachers have "been able to maintain productivity and service while operating under a 4 percent budget cap every year during the past 10 to 15 years.”
Rocky Hill and Millstone, two of the non-operating districts that were dissolved this year, are waging a battle to have their districts reinstated since residents didn’t get to vote on the elimination, reports the Trenton Times.
The Press of Atlantic City juxtaposes the “real world,” where inflation is zero so seniors shouldn’t get COLA increases in their social security checks and casino owners have proposed wage freezes for three years, and the “surreal world,” where teacher salary increases "are hovering, statewide, at 4.5 percent - 4.3 percent for those negotiated since January. This, despite a school budget cap of 4 percent that was set when inflation was much higher than 0 percent and there was no recession."
Parents and Communities United for Education (PCUE), the Jersey City chapter of the Statewide Education Organizing Committee, which advocates for better education in low-income school districts, led a rally in front of School 11 on Tuesday. According to the Jersey City News, more than 450 kids dropped out of Jersey City school last year. An organizer of the rally said,
There's a schoolhouse to jail-house mentality here. We want kids to have the equal opportunity to graduate and go on to college or trade school.