Glenn Beck Award*

Yes, two Glenn Beck awards in a week. It’s that kind of week. Here’s the Star-Ledger Editorial Board’s thoughts (we’re using the term loosely) on Gov. Christie’s plan to cap superintendent salaries:
We don’t want to hear any whining from school boards. They had the power to rein in salaries, but kept handing out chubby contracts, loaded with perks like cars, laptops, cell phones, fully funded health-care and exorbitant amounts of sick and vacation time.
Oh…right. The raison d’etre of volunteer school board members, who pay the same taxes as the communities they represent, is to blithely heap barrels of money and perks on incompetent superintendents. It gets us off and ignites the serotonin levels. Hey, it’s better than happy pills. Profligacy is our middle name.

Come on, guys. No doubt some superintendents get paid too much and some school boards are dysfunctional. But comparisons to the Governor’s salary are specious, and we’d love to see documentation on the assistant principal of an elementary school, cited in the editorial, earning more than $200K. Now that’s crazy.

NJ superintendent salaries – minus the few egregious cases that do indeed need to be reined in – are based on market forces. They get what they get because it’s a competitive market. “Fully funded health-care” and “exorbitant amounts of sick and vacation time” stem from NJEA contracts, which mandate the same when adjusted for 10 month vs. 12 month employees. Which is the point, isn’t it?

Any money saved from imposing salary caps on superintendents is insignificant. The value is in imposing salary caps on NJ's public education industry, starting with superintendents (a politically popular move) and extending that concept to its logical conclusion: salary caps on other administrators and teachers. And then, of course, augmenting those capped salaries (county-wide or state-wide contracts?) with merit bonuses, which is part of Christie’s proposal for superintendent compensation and also part of our Race To The Top proposal. Sort of elegant.

That’s your lede, guys, not stoning school board members.

*Award from NJ Left Behind in honor of Mr. Glenn Beck of Fox News whom Jon Stewart describes as "a guy who says what people who aren't thinking are thinking."