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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: lauriegood@mac.com

Monday, April 12, 2010

Christie has either lost his mind or he really doesn't care who gets hurt in his quest to break the NJEA.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the rabbit hole, the other side of the looking glass, the place where nothing makes sense.

I just read this headline on NJ.com:

Gov. Chris Christie urges voters to reject school districts' budgets without wage freezes for teachers.

I am speechless.

Except for this:

Please, voters of Ridgewood, use your heads and don't be swayed by what Governor Christie wants.

Christie wants to break the NJEA? OK.

Christie is playing power and politics? Whatever.

At the end of the day (sorry, I do hate that phrase), the residents of Ridgewood only owe their allegiance to one entity -- and it's not a big guy in Trenton, whether that big guy is the governor or the chairman of the NJEA. The citizens of Ridgewood answer to ourselves. And our children.

The REA should have voted to accept the concession presented by their leadership -- not because Christie told them to, but because it was the right thing to do for Ridgewood.

We need to pass the budget on April 20 because it's the right thing to do. Failure of the budget will result in further cuts to our educational programs. Failure of the budget will not teach the NJEA or REA a lesson. It will only hurt our schools.

More to come...

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Voting NO on April 20th will have an impact on our programs but not so much that we'd notice.

Teachers have to acknowledge that it's their responsibility, whatever happens. The union has had their way for too long and it's time for a change. The change has to come from the teachers.

I back Christie on this issue. I spend most evenings picking up the slack for the poor job our teachers do, so what's a few more minutes.

WAKE UP! Crush the union NOW!!!

Laurie said...

I must correct you -- you WILL notice the impact on our programs if the budget fails. Just how much of an impact that will be, would depend on the Village Council. I don't know about you, but that does not make me feel better.

You are right that the change has to come from the teachers -- not from being bullied but from realizing what is right.

And as for the job teachers do, this conversation has nothing to do with that. It's power and money only right now. And your children's opportunities in the Ridgewood schools will be collateral damage.

Laurie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"You are right that the change has to come from the teachers -- not from being bullied but from realizing what is right."

Allow me to correct you - the teachers know what's right. It is we, the parents, who have been bullied by the teachers and NJEA for a very long time. We can't confront them openly for fear of retribution taken out on our children.

Teachers know, or should know, that the right thing to do is to open the contract now. They know they should give up their salary increase. They know they should pay more towards their health care cost, equal to the percentages in the private sector. They know they should restructure their retirement programs. They know all of these things yet they choose to hide behind their union thugs with their heads in the sand. It's called GREED - let someone else make the sacrifice.

We, the parents, have had enough.

Julie Goldberg Springer said...

When Christie or members of the public portray the NJEA or their district unions as bullies, I think they have the impression that the union dictates the terms of the contract.

The reality is that every three years, each separate school board negotiates a contract with its own union. Neither side gets everything it wants. Anyone who works in a school or serves on a school board understands this, but some sectors of the public don't really get it. It is IMPOSSIBLE for a union to "bully" its school. The union is not even permitted to strike in NJ, so with what power could they "bully" a school board?

Christie is using the public's ignorance of the nature of collective bargaining as political weapon.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you stated: "They know they should pay more towards their health care cost, equal to the percentages in the private sector."

As a recent college graduate, with $80,000 of debt to become a "highly qualified teacher" as required by the state, this includes a master's degree, I say you're right, in some ways. I won't mind paying into my health care costs, like the private sectors. Are you, however, suggesting that we also get paid like the private sector? If this is the case, then with a master's degree I should be able to start at over $50,000 a year and based on merit, I could quickly make a lot of money. Oh yeah, that's not an option and besides I'm only supposed to be in it for the children, not for my own profit. The public demands so much of teachers, and most of us are willing to give it, however, too many think so low of what we do and our worth, it's actually disheartening.

Anonymous said...

It fascinates me that anyone would call teachers greedy. The average teacher in NJ makes $58,000 a year. How do you think this teacher would do buying a house in Ridgewood? I assume that most of the people throwing stones at teachers make two, three, four times the salaries teachers make? Let's be realistic here. Could you pay your Ridgewood mortgage on a teacher's salary? I doubt it. I would love to have the people crying about the teachers' salaries actually try to live on one for a year. Do me a favor, and check out a teacher's salary guide. I think you would be surprised at the numbers. GREED is an inappropriate word to hurl at people in the teaching profession. And last time I checked, Ridgwood High School students get into some of the most competitive schools in the country, so the teachers must be doing something right. And by the way, I'm not one of them, I just see the absurdity of your comments.

Anonymous said...

Wow you guys listen to way too much anti-union rhetoric from the blogs and Christie supporters.

I would love to heard just what bullying the union or teachers have ever done to any parents. And to say, you are picking up the slack for poor teachers by helping your child at night is a ridiculously ignorant comment.

a) you are supposed to help your child,
b) you were not in the classroom that day so your comment has no basis in fact (no basis in logical opinion either since you have no first hand knowledge to form a real opinion on)

Is there problems with the system, absolutely, but the teachers salary is the least of them. Wage freezes are going to make a minimal difference especially with the ridiculous cuts levied by the state.

Concerned Citizen said...

Hey anonymous. How dare you call it greed when people are fighting to earn a middle class wage. Assuming that you're a legitimate citizen (and not some message board stooge) you'd realize that you also stand to lose in all of this. Governor Christie does not care about you or your family (unless of course you're a millionaire).

WAKE UP

Anonymous said...

I am not against paying my share of health cost as the private sector does. However, if you want to treat teachers like we work for the private sector, then pay us like we work for the private sector.Teaching is not a 9 - 5 job and it is a rare night when work is not taken home. My billable hours a week?? Try about 70. Pay me what that is worth in the private sector instead of on a teaching salary, and I will gladly pay towards my healthcare.

Voting no for the school budgets WILL hurt the children. Stop listening to the rhetoric of the governor and get the facts!!

Laurie said...

I understand the frustration. I understand the changes that Mr. Christie wants to make. I just don't think this is the way to do it. My point is that if the budget in Ridgewood is defeated, I don't think either side is going to "give." If the budget is defeated, it's not going to hurt the teachers. Nothing will change in our budget -- except that the District will have to cut MORE in whatever amount that the Village Council deems.

Sara said...


Teachers know, or should know, that the right thing to do is to open the contract now. They know they should give up their salary increase. They know they should pay more towards their health care cost, equal to the percentages in the private sector. They know they should restructure their retirement programs. They know all of these things yet they choose to hide behind their union thugs with their heads in the sand. It's called GREED - let someone else make the sacrifice.


You know the % that the teachers contribute to the healthcare is NOT going to the towns. The state is taking that money and putting it towards other things. So it will still cost town X amount of money per employee.

Laurie Goodman said...

Actually, Sara, a couple clarifications:

The teachers in ridgewood who currently contribute to their premiums -- that money stays in the district.

If you're referring to Governor Christie's new law that teachers must contribute 1.5% of their salaries to health care premiums, that money will also stay in the district, going directly to pay premiums. This money will not go to the state.

Anonymous said...

I spend most evenings picking up the slack for the poor job our teachers do

That's funny... I feel like I spend all day picking up the slack for the poor job parents of my students do. Kids dressed inappropriately. Kids who can't remember to bring a book, notebook, or a writing implement, or be bothered to show up on time. Kids who think it's OK to answer texts during school, during class, sometimes FROM parents. Don't pretend to be doing your job, when more than half of mine, before learning even starts, is parenting. Pay me as a babysitter then... 120 kids, 180 days, 41 minutes per day at just $5 per hour (less than you pay your current babysitter or daycare, I imagine) that's just... $107,000/year.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. I believe that I am "parenting" 60% of the time and teaching the curriculum 40%. I am truly disgusted at the fact that we teachers are considered "greedy" for being compensated for our hard work and time that we put into our work. Do you really think that we stroll into school at 9:00 and leave at 3:00? What about the work we bring home (grading or even just the worry about kids and how to get through to them)What about the baseball and soccer games that I go to support my students? Is that the greed you are speaking of?...

Leslie said...

Reading all of these comments is great. Intellingent discussion about the issues is sorely needed.
I was inspired to dig out my teaching contract after the comments about teachers freezing salaries. In my district in Bergen County, for a teacher to make $50,000, he or she would have to work 5 years. To hit $60,000, 11years.
Let's just keep these "outrageous" salaries in perspective. Even teachers on the TOP of the salary guide, with a maters degree and an additional 30 graduate credits (or much more, paid for on their own), are still making less than $100,000. Some of these are people with 35+ yrs. experience.
Christie is a bit misleading when he speaks about how good teachers have it financially.
Just trying to keep it REAL and based on facts. Before you scream, "Freeze salaries!" Look at what those salaries actually are.
And to the recent, in-debt, college graduate, don't give up the career. It is the most rewarding job out there. I promise.

Anonymous said...

Stop guessing about teachers salaries


http://www.starledger.com/str/indexpage/payrolls/active.asp

This should clear a lot up

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting that link for the salaries. Now I'm REALLY upset!

Teachers that I think are doing a great job are making LESS than the idiots that should be fired.

How about this for a start? Give up tenure in exchange for merit based increases. Give up your defined benefits retirement program in exchange for a 401k.

Teachers - You must understand that public opinion is NOT on your side. You MUST give up something if you want to turn things around.

Anonymous said...

The merit based increases will be based on what? Test scores? grades? there is no way to level the playing field when we are dealing with human beings. This is not sales commissions.

Although I do agree completely that the pension system needs to be eliminated. As nice as it would be, life expectancies are just too high for a pension to be sustainable. It should be changed to a healthy 403b match.

But there is no way that I have seen to make merit based pay work or make sense.

Anonymous said...

7:29

"writing implement"?

And you're a teacher, I mean, babysitter?

Let's face it - our touchy-feely system has created our monster kids and elitist teachers. The grown-ups now must come in and teach our kids AND the teachers some lessons.

When I went to school, teachers were in control of their class or they did not teach. We respected our teachers and I got a first-class education. No computers. No cellphones. No media center. No $50+/hr tutors. No SAT prep.

Cut the BS, run lean and work together. Screw the state. They think we're rich. Remind them at the ballot box in November that we're not. You think the budget is too high? Vote it down.

Also, if you think we're actually getting the $10 mil from the state for the bond ref, think again. We were sold a bill of goods, here in town and at the state level.