“Wednesday may go down as the day the unions died. The agreement reached last week among Governor Christie, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver to reform the public pension and health benefits system may be the most historic event in New Jersey since George Washington took a boat across the Delaware River.” That’s The Record’s Editorial Board.
Some dispute over who’s in that boat. According to the NJEA website, tomorrow’s protest march against the bill to increase health and benefits contributions is the “Second Battle of Trenton.” Public employees “will come to Trenton by the thousands to reclaim the Capitol City for the people of New Jersey.” Um, that would make it the Third Battle of Trenton, right? The Second Battle occurred in 1776 when General Washington crossed the Delaware to slip back into Trenton and fight the King’s Troop, the second time in 8 days.
The Courier-Post Editorial Board wonders, “what force has suddenly left the New Jersey Education Association, once the most powerful lobbying organization in Trenton, staggering around like a wounded tiger, growling at everyone and trying to figure out what allies it has left?”
In The Lobby parses NJEA’s strategy, wondering at the possibility of an attempt to unseat Sen. Sweeney and Assemblywoman Oliver so that NJEA (and others) can have “new leaders who the public sector unions think they can work with.” Joe Cryan, who has loudly denounced the new legislation on salary and pension benefits, is a possible candidate for elevated office.
A sticking point on the health and pension benefits legislation winding its way through the Legislature: under the Sweeney plan public employees, including teachers, would be prohibited from getting out-of-state hospital treatment. Sweeney says it’s to save struggling Jersey hospitals. Unsolicited advice: this is not a hill to die on.
NJ Spotlight analyzes the legislation that’s causing all this fuss.
Derrell Bradford has a new gig. The Courier Post profiles Better Education For Kids (B4K), a 501(C)4 which will advocate for an education reform agenda, specifically bipartisan reform, and try to fight back against NJEA’s p.r. machine. Here’s B4K’s first ad.
Don’t miss Leslie Brody’s story in The Record on Public School 10 in Paterson where teachers combat impoverished and apathetic parents, administrators suffer tenure laws that ban them from getting rid of the worst teachers, and kids are so far behind that the principal says that every student in the school could legitimately be held back.
Nine NJ school districts will pilot a value-added teacher evaluation system, reports NJ Spotlight.
The Star-Ledger reports that about 300 Newark high school students, close to half of them registered at Barringer High School, have “repeatedly failed to pass the state’s traditional or alternative high school proficiency exam and will not graduate…”
“One quarter of NJ’s superintendents will retire or seek employment elsewhere at the end of this school year,” reports the Star-Ledger. Richard Bozza, director of the NJ Association of School Administrators, called the salary cap on superintendent salaries “crippling.” What about all those principals and asst. superintendents who can now apply for the vacant slots? Nope, says, Bozza. They make more money in the lower positions than they can make as superintendents. There are no salary caps in those positions that limit income.