By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
Governor Chris Christie’s CNN interview continues to elicit strong reactions, Save Jerseyans, and the problem with this controversy, as with similar incidents, is that most folks are focusing on the style points. It’s among the regrettable byproducts of our presidential politics, cultural decline, and hyper-politicization of the education industry. But those are topics for another post…
What about the substance?
Let’s revisit, briefly, what these teachers’ unions are all about and objectively decide whether they deserve to exist (I’m not pulling any punches):
10) The union establishment’s demands are as unrealistic as they’ve been fiscally ruinous. NJEA members will donate $126,000 to pension and health benefits over 30 years but stand to collect $2.4 million in return. Who thought this was a good idea??? Are all of the calculators broken in Trenton? Of course not. It’s all part of an elaborate, decades-old double-whammy of vote buying and problem avoidance. Instead of hating Chris Christie, teachers should direct their ire to the politicians on their own union’s campaign season payroll. They did it.
9) Their chosen tactics are disgusting. Wisconsin’s recent experiences were horrific, and the physical/verbal violence perpetrated by Big Labor’s storm troopers was 100% one-sided.
8) The system these unions ferociously protect is failing our country’s most vulnerable children, especially those students living in poorer, minority-concentrated school districts. Click here to check out my lengthy run-down of Camden High School’s plight (catalyzed by a give-and-take with my liberal friend of Inky fame Kevin Riordan) for the uncomfortable truth.
7) American Teachers’ unions = Democrat Party affiliates. After self-preservation, the teacher union establishment is primarily concerned with protecting the Democrats whose policies protect their power. A good faith union would avoid colluding with one political party or the other, pursuing and prioritizing the best interests of its membership and their children. Not the teacher’s unions; in this state and most others, and certainly nationally as Chris Christie pointed out, they function as a Democrat Super PAC. The American Federation of Teachers has already endorsed Hillary Clinton before either party held its first debate!
6) Dues tied up in waste and hypocrisy… so teachers lose, too: The NJEA collects a 9-figure annual sum in teachers’ taxpayer paycheck-derived dues; its regular and political arms spend many millions more in lobbying and both direct and indirect campaigning activity to influence public police. What do its members have to show for it???
5) Therefore, these unions have a financial incentive to protect bad dues-paying teachers at the expense of the education system. Much has been written on this topic but John Stossel did a particularly good job of illustrating how difficult it is to purge the suck; it’s a crisis that’s turned even hardened union veterans against the tenure-centric system.
4) …making it harder for good teachers to earn more. The most egregious example of this phenomenon occurred in D.C. during the last-2000s. Here’s the story.
3) So unsurprisingly, given the choice, most teachers don’t want to participate in unions. Participation in Wisconsin’s public sector unions, including teachers’ unions, has plummeted after Scott Walker’s reforms became law. “If you do a good job, everything will take care of itself. The money I’d spend on dues is way more valuable to buy groceries for my family,” one Wisconsin educator explained.
2) For all of these reasons, quite frankly, they don’t give a damn about your kids. Don’t take my word for it: “Well, you know, uh, life’s not always fair and I’m sorry about that.” That’s recently retired NJEA Executive Director, Vincent Giordano, who earned $550,000 annually when he went on TV a few years ago and callously dismissed the plight of New Jersey children stuck in failing, NJEA-protected schools.
1) And then there’s this:
Q: “If there were a high quality schools that did not have unionized teachers … would you be for it?”