updated 3/1/10 @ 1:45 p.m.
Wow, all I kept thinking as I read the story on the New Jersey Education Association in yesterday's Bergen Record, was how NJEA Executive Director Vincent Giordano sounds (and looks, for that matter) like a mafia don. I mean, really, his "you shouldn't have disrespected us" and "if you put us in the corner we're gonna take off the gloves" lines sound like something from Goodfellas. (And BTW I paraphrased those quotes, but they're pretty close.)
I especially liked his threat to spend "10 times" what they already spent trying to defeat Christie's election, to now fight the education reforms the new governor is proposing.
I really encourage all Ridgewood taxpayers to read the article and learn about the position -- and the power -- of the NJEA. One thing is clear to me -- we're in for a battle royale. Personally, I resent the NJEA's recent newspaper ads headlined "Who will speak for students?" Really, NJEA? Do you honestly expect me to believe that your $4.5 million in PAC spending, your $533,000 in salary for your Exec Director and President (two people who are not educating anybody, BTW), and your $98 million dues are speaking for students? I respect any workers' group's right to organize and fight for its members but let's remember that's what you're doing. Fighting for your members.
If anyone is "speaking for the students" it's the unpaid, volunteer school board members throughout the state. (Calm down, I'm not lamenting the lack of pay and I'm not fishing for sympathy, I'm just offering a contrast.) Dear Mr. Giordano, I'm trying to speak for the students, too. We should all have an equal voice, regardless of our bank accounts. I would say I'll "take off the gloves," too, but I can't do it without sounding silly. Instead, right now all I can do is watch the Christie-NJEA battle take shape and keep my focus on Ridgewood and getting through our 2010-11 budget process.
I want to reiterate that my comments above are about the NJEA leadership. I respect and value the teachers in Ridgewood, but I have an educational responsibility to our students and a financial responsibility to our community/taxpayers.
Tomorrow night I'll be traveling with other Board members, administrators and parents to Summit to hear Education Commissioner Bret Schundler and other legislators speak on the state of education in New Jersey. It's open to the public -- email me if you'd like info/directions or click here for more info.
Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org