The Wall Street Journal looks at the lousy teacher attendance rates in Newark’s traditional public schools. In spite of an attendance improvement program, 7% of Newark’s teachers are absent on any given day, twice as many as in other urban districts. Part of the problem is the overly-generous teacher contract (negotiated by NFT, not NJEA,) which included this past year’s 4.9% salary increase:
Under the expiring contract, most Newark teachers get 18 paid sick and personal days off during the school year, and those with 25 years or more of service get up to 28 days out of their 191-day school year. By contrast, in New York City, teachers get 10 sick days and three of those can be used for personal business… Joseph Del Grosso, the president of the Newark Teachers Union, attributes the large absences to either stress or the impending retirement of some teachers, who may want to take some of the portion of their accrued sick days that they can’t cash out.
Asked whether the teachers have a duty to work if they’re not actually sick, he said: “We’re not priests or nuns.”