Sunday LeftoversNovember 20, 2011
Asininity of the DayNovember 21, 2011
Last week, at its annual meeting, the New Jersey Education Association announced its broad education reform agenda. But because of the acrimonious relationship between Governor Christie and the state teachers union, because the NJEA is in the midst of a domestic dispute with many Democratic legislators who supported the governor on state employee pension and benefit reform, and because the agenda comes without a recommendation of funding source, most view the NJEA agenda as dead in the water.
That’s Bridget Harrison, an editorialist for The Record in yesterday’s paper. I’m not sure it’s that’s simple. Agendas without funding are New Jersey’s middle name (the new bullying legislation is the most recent example, unless you count the new regulations on teen dating violence); anyway, it’s hardly a deal-breaker.
Harrison refers to pieces of NJEA’s education reform proposal that have gotten scant attention, as opposed to the much-heralded extension of lifelong job protection from three years on the job to four. The parts of NJEA’s proposal without obvious funding sources are expansion of full-day preschool for poor kids, statewide full-day kindergarten (according to NJEA, 25,000 students go for half a day), and reduction of class sizes throughout the state, not just in Abbott districts.
Those three proposals are pipedreams. NJEA’s leadership knows this. It can’t very well unveil a proposal, pennants ablaze, titled “Education Reform Done Right,” and say, “we’re adding a fourth year to tenure!” A little padding never hurt anyone.