Sunday Leftovers

On NJEA's media campaign against school aid cuts and benefits reform, Gov. Christie tells the Independent Press that “[c]andidly, teachers aren’t the problem. The union has to stop playing politics and get real." He also remarks to the Star-Ledger, "The NJEA loves spending their teachers’ dues criticizing me. They spent $3 million of it trying to make sure I couldn’t win the election. You saw how successful that was. They’re just going to put more lies and distortions on the radio, on TV and all the rest of it."

Kevin Manahan of The Star-Ledger editorial board ruminates today, "I’ve always marveled at the NJEA’s ability to have it both ways: It demands the unparalleled job security that comes with tenure, then rebuffs any attempt by taxpayers to make sure they’re getting what they pay for — quality teaching. So public school salaries continue to be based on longevity and education credits and not what happens in the classroom. It’s preposterous. But that’s okay with the union because that pay policy treats all teachers equally. Unions like that. There’s one problem: We all know teachers are not equal."

Senator Jim Whelan, an Atlantic City school teacher and a perennial NJEA favorite, tries to explain to his colleagues that times have changed. He tells a group of government workers, reports the Press of Atlantic City, “There were times when raises weren’t given, but benefits were, enhancements to pensions were," but he said times had changed.“We no longer make lousy money. The fact of the matter is that public employees across the board in New Jersey make above what the private sector is paying, of comparative education and comparative time of service.”

Charles Stile of The Record questions Gov. Christie's executive order that gives him authority over local school boards, and whether the order banning "pay to play" over-reaches: "But in his desire to poke NJEA in the eye, Christie's executive order applies to any union that "enters into contracts with the State of New Jersey … or with other New Jersey public entities. That means the NJEA would risk losing its ability to bargain any local teacher contract if it continues to make campaign donations. That could put teachers into demanding the union to stop giving or choose another bargaining representative. Critics argue that the ban is a thinly disguised form of union busting, a possible violation of collective bargaining law."

David Sciarra of the Education Law Center argues that Christie's seizure of school districts' surplus accounts "penalizes fiscal prudence."

Is the 15% reduction in next year's school aid a sure thing or not? A piece in The Record has Commissioner-To-Be Schundler telling the Senate Education Committee, “We’re working hard to see if we can achieve state aid that’s flat but we don’t know if it’s possible."

Max Pizarro of PolitickerNJ muses on “a showering of bipartisan praise on a controversial nominee,” Bret Schundler.

The Wall St. Journal
cites a growing trend of parents and government officials who protest the “last hired, first fired” seniority rules that govern teacher lay-offs.

What to do when state regulations require that a quorum of five board members evaluate the superintendent, but only three don’t have conflicts of interest? Answer here in Plainfield.