As my time in Chicago quickly draws to an end, I want to continue the education reform entries for this week on JerseySmarts.com. Again, as I trolled through the archives of information that I wanted to share with you fine folks I came across this entry which had quotations from a variety of sources talking about the great education debate in New Jersey. Let’s hear it from their own mouths.
Christie told the The Associated Press in an interview that he will offer more state aid to all school districts whose teachers agree to a wage freeze for the 2011 fiscal year.
There you go. Anyone who says that Governor Chris Christie isn’t trying to work with those teachers and local unions that are sharing in the sacrifice is lying. Now you know that so when you hear someone saying how Governor Christie is attacking the wrong people (teachers instead of bureaucrats in Trenton), you know that the person saying that is a liar.
The offer won’t cost the state any more money. The Republican is offering to give districts all the money the state would save on Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes as a result of the wage freezes.
Sometimes the best solutions really are the easiest ones to accomplish, huh?
Already teachers in several districts, including in West Essex, Boonton, Montclair and Metuchen, have voluntarily offered to freeze wages.
And no one, by any means, who is in favor of education reform in New Jersey thinks that the teachers or the local unions are the problem. A great big “congratulations!” goes out to the teachers in these districts. They are changing education in this state for the better. Thank you!
But if teachers agree to wage freezes, districts could see more than a 7 percent increase in aid. For example, a district that saves $1 million in salaries as a result of wage freezes would receive an extra $75,000 in state aid.
“Maybe that helps to fund another teacher position or two, or a sports program that they might otherwise had to cut,” the governor said.
Are these programs not worth saving? As a former student athlete, I think that they are worth saving and I would hope that local teachers’ unions put their money where their mouths have been (literally) and take a one year pay freeze to support the programs that support their students.
“Gov. Christie is a very shrewd politician, and he’s using crafty political tactics to impose his agenda on the state,” NJEA President Barbara Keshishian said recently in a statement. “But when he turned his attack machine on teachers and school employees, he really stooped to a desperate new low, because our members are not the problem.”
Ms. Keshishian, your teachers are not the problem… the leviathan that your organization has become is the problem. Disassemble the NJEA now and allow countywide and local teachers’ unions to represent the true interests of their members. The time has come for the NJEA to stop getting in the way of the education reform that New Jersey so desperately needs.