Speaking of NJEA, two pieces today look at the ability of the union’s leadership to make strategic decisions to benefit members. First, NJ Spotlight gives the inside scoop on negotiations between Comm. Schundler and NJEA leaders as they toil to come up with acceptable compromises on our Race To The Top application. (Apparently we're up to 402 school districts signing on the dotted line: pretty cool.) How much is union buy-in worth if the price is a weakened application?

Next, Kevin Manahan of the Star-Ledger Editorial Board flogs NJEA’s leaders for the fall from grace of NJ’s teachers because union leaders wouldn’t take that one year salary freeze. (N.B.: we suggested that three months ago (here) and, yes, the facebook group, “New Jersey Teachers United Against Gov. Chis Christie’s Pay Freeze” is still going strong.) Explains Manahan,
Teachers listened to their overpaid brain trust, the architects of this disastrous public relations strategy. Together, NJEA president Barbara Keshishian, executive director Vincent Giordano and spokesman Steve Wollmer earn more than a million dollars. Keshishian, who has been outmaneuvered by the governor at every turn, earns $256,450 annually. Giordano, with salary and deferred compensation, earned $550,203 in 2009, and Wollmer makes $300,000.
Is it possible that Manahan’s take is outdated, at least in regards to NJEA's bosses' inability to make sound strategic decisions? If union leaders are not simply dismissing our RTTT application but truly, in good faith, trying to nail down acceptable compromises, then there may be some reason to hope. After all, while the Keshishian/Christie war has provided occasional entertainment, it's not terribly useful in addressing the profound problems of our public school system.

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