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Posts Tagged ‘NJEA’

NJ teachers union breaks the bank on ads, close to $7 million spent in 2010

March 9, 2011 Leave a comment

The NJEA outspent every other special interest group in the state last year, and it wasn’t even close:

The state’s largest teachers union last year spent $6.6 million on an ad campaign targeting Gov. Chris Christie’s cuts to education, according to a report issued by the Election Law Enforcement Commission this morning.

The New Jersey Education Association blanketed the airwaves last year as it warred with Christie, and spent a total of almost $6.9 million on lobbying across the board, making it far and away the special interest group that spent the most to win over the public and elected officials. […]

The report also showed that Reform Jersey Now — an issue advocacy group tied to Christie’s closest advisers — spent $403,000 on communications in 2010. The group, which disbanded in December, raised a total of $624,000 from private donors, including ones with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of contracts with the state.

The pro-charter school group Excellent Education For Everyone was the second highest spender on communications behind the NJEA, shelling out $458,928.

The NJEA is a union with considerable financial muscle to be sure.  That’s what happens when you have a license to steal from fellow taxpayers.

 

In solidarity against the mob

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment

The Wisconsin State Assembly voted on and passed Governor Walker’s budget bill early this morning.  This is what happened after the vote was tallied:

Democrats erupted after the vote, throwing papers and what appeared to be a drink in the air. They denounced the move to cut off debate, questioning for the second time in the night whether the proper procedure had been followed.

“Shame! Shame! Shame!” Democrats shouted in the faces of Republicans as the GOP lawmakers quietly filed off the floor and a police officer stood between opposing lawmakers.

“Cowards all! You’re all cowards,” yelled Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) as another Democrat tried to calm him down.

Here’s the video:

This is how the Democrats and their union overlords  roll–intimidation, heated rhetoric, etc.  We’ve seen it play out all week long.  And they’ve taken it to the statehouse.

To the extent that the left now considers the Koch brothers the face of their opposition, they should be wary as the Kochs won’t be intimidated by the amateurish actions of the unions and their protesters.   No, the Kochs aren’t backing down:

“With the Left trying to intimidate the Koch brothers to back off of their support for freedom and signaling to others that this is what happens if you oppose the administration and its allies, we have no choice but to continue to fight,” says Richard Fink, the executive vice president of Koch Industries. “We will not step back at all. We firmly believe that economic freedom has benefited the overwhelming majority of society, including workers, who earn higher wages when you have open and free markets. […]

“This is part of an orchestrated campaign that has been going on for many months. It involves the Obama administration, the Center for American Progress, aligned left-wing groups, and their friends in the media.

Here’s the deal.  The union bosses are thugs, plain and simple.  But they can be simple-minded.  They’re used to getting their way and will throw a tantrum when they feel opposition.

Here in New Jersey, for example, the NJEA have had their way with Trenton for years until Governor Christie was elected.  They were used to demanding previous governors to jump and the governor would happily oblige.  When Governor Christie pushed back–and hard–the unions immediately started with the demonstrations, the in-your-face tactics, etc.–the typical nonsense.  They’re used to getting their way.  They’re spoiled.

So far Governor Walker is standing his ground and I would like to think that once the State Senate takes up the legislation, that Wisconsin’s Republicans stand firm.  It’s the only way  to reverse the unions’ ruinous cycle of fiscal destruction.

[Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin and Memeorandum]

NJ public employee unions to screw Jersey taxpayers on Friday

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Anything to get a day off from work.  Paid for by New Jersey taxpayers of course:

The largest state employee unions are organizing a rally at the Statehouse on Friday to express support for workers rallying in Wisconsin.

The Communications Workers of America, which represents most of the state’s employees, will participate in the rally at noon, and National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will address the crowd. The rally is organized by the AFL-CIO and supported by the Change to Win unions and the National Education Association.

“We are all Wisconsin public workers this week,” Hetty Rosenstein, CWA state director, said in a statement. “They’re trying to blame middle class workers for the financial mess that Wall Street caused. It’s more politics as usual and we’re ready to fight back.”

It’s all for the kids, I’m sure, but I wonder how much this will cost taxpayers?

Governor Chrisite strikes again

May 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Earlier this week, this video made the rounds and shows Governor Christie at his best.

Rita Wilson is a public school teacher and decides to go on about how she doesn’t teach for the money and that based upon her class size, she should be making around $83,000. 

Watch the governor’s response:

Turns out Ms. Wilson actually makes $86,000 and, as I’ve noted before, the average NJ family makes $77,875 a year.  So Ms. Wilson, for all her complaining, makes about 94% of what the average family makes annually.

Two things to take from this:

First, just when I think Governor Christie can’t get any better he always manages to surprise.  If anything, it’s a relief to see a politician not only refuse to take any crap from special interests, but also speak straightforward and not in political legalese.  Usually, an official would listen to Ms. Wilson’s complaining and tried to assuage or soothe, which is usually the point at which politicians fail, because they’re not being honest. 

One of the things we hear from the teachers is that they never became a teacher for the money.  But yet every time they open their mouth they’re bitching about–money.  So kudos to the governor for the brutal honesty.

Lastly, tip your hat to Red State for picking up on Ms. Wilson’s actual salary.  Teachers salaries are a matter of public record.  Would it have hurt the Star LEdger or the Record or any of the local papers to look this up and try to find the facts rather than let Wilson’s lies go unaccounted for, especially after she tried to stick it to the governor? 

I guess so.

HELP WANTED: Teacher in New Jersey

May 16, 2010 Leave a comment

We offer you the fourth highest average salary in the nation (behind Connecticut and financially strapped New York and California), an average salary of $63,154, two months vacation and an excellent health package that you contribute little if nothing towards.

It’s a tough job I know…

Governor Christie getting s**t done

May 13, 2010 Leave a comment

The grown-ups in Trenton are trying to get things done, and that means having to just ignore the cry-babies as they pout and stamp their feet:

Political theater in Trenton reached new heights today as lawmakers advanced a school choice bill in hearing that was moved outside after a leading lawmaker publicly tangled with the state’s largest and most powerful teachers union.

While hundreds of private and charter school students staged a rally in support of the measure outside the Statehouse Annex, the New Jersey Education Association members packed the hearing room to show their opposition. That upset Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Union), who wanted to free up some seats for supporters, much to the NJEA’s chagrin.

“They said, ‘We’re not moving,'” Lesniak said. “So I said, we’ll have it outside.”

Statehouse staff carried out desks and chairs for senators, and the hearing was held in front of hundreds of demonstrators under sunny skies.

[…]

In the end, the Senate Economic Growth Committee unanimously approved the bill (S1872), which will provide scholarships for students to attend private schools.

So while a bipartisan effort to bring real change to our state’s educational system is winding through the senate chamber, the NJEA does what it does best–act like complete douchebags, making the issue a political one as opposed to being about educating disadvantaged students.  The very same students that the NJEA claims to care so much about.

Let’s make it clear, that this school voucher bill is being shepherded through the legislature with bipartisan support.  Politicians from both sides of the aisle are joining with civic groups to bring about real change here. 

Only two explanations come to mind.  First, the state of our education system must be in much worse condition than any casual observer is being led to believe.  For this sort of cooperation to take place, things must really be desperate.  Better late than never.

Secondly, nobody can overestimate the effect that Governor Christie is having on the political environment here in the Garden State.   He survived whatever vile and malicious crap the NJEA threw at him during the budget battle earlier this year (including a union moron wishing death on the governor), and although he took a hit in the polls, it obviously hasn’t fazed him.

He’s making such a name for himself, he’s beginning to get noticed in larger circles. 

The Hill:

Christie is tackling the nation’s worst state deficit — $10.7 billion of a $29.3 billion budget. In doing so, Christie has become the politician so many Americans crave, one willing to lose his job.

Indeed, Christie is doing something unheard of: governing as a Republican in a blue state, just as he campaigned, making good on promises, acting like his last election is behind him.

The crux of this opinion piece is that Christie is making a name for himself in national Republican politics, the implication being he will run for President one day.   A possibility?  Definitely. 

But he has a boatload of work to do here in Jersey first, and he’s doing a much better job than I ever thought he would.  So here’s hoping he stays put.

NJEA fighting Governor Christie and Obama administration on education reform

Governor Christie and state eductation chief Bret Schundler are proposing a reform plan that would reward teachers based on a far-out and radical concept–actually teaching students. 

The proposal is being made as the state tries to bid on Federal funding for education reforms:

The overhaul plan will be included in New Jersey’s new application for Race to the Top, a federal grant program the Obama administration is using to reward states for school reforms. New Jersey could get up to $400 million if selected.

We stand shoulder to shoulder with the president on this,” Gov. Chris Christie said. “This is an incredibly special moment in American history, where you have Republicans in New Jersey agreeing with a Democratic president on how to get reform.”

Christie said adopting the proposed changes are “very necessary” to get the much-needed federal funding for the cash-strapped state. But it was unclear if the governor can get the reforms through the Democrat-controlled Legislature.

[…]

“It is our responsibility to implement these kinds of reforms,” said Education Commissioner Bret Schundler, who unveiled the plan. “It is what is morally right and it will bring dramatic improvements in the education system to the benefit of all children.”

However, Schundler said many details — including the cost of the new statewide computer system — have not been worked out.

There you have it.  Governor Christie is willing to work with the Obama administration to bring significant change to our state’s bloated and inefficient education system. 

So who’s standing in the way?

The New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, said it has doubts about the proposal. The plan is “terrible policy” that relies too heavily on standardized test scores, NJEA spokesman Steve Wollmer said.

“If someone said to you, ‘Your job is dependent on raising student test scores,’ what are you going to spend your time doing?,” Wollmer said. “They will have to teach to the test all of the time.”

[…]

Teachers would also have to wait five years, instead of three, to get tenure under the proposal. The state would also start a “bonus pool” to reward teachers who work in the state’s lowest-performing districts and allow the best-performing teachers to open their own schools.

I’m no fan of taking Federal money for state and local education–I think the Federal government has no place there.  But all of that aside, the politics here are such that it’s almost inevitable–or at least it was at one time. 

Let’s put it this way–if Corzine were still in office, and continued his ass-kissing of the NJEA as he did for eight years, I would suspect that this Federal money would already be slated for New Jersey before the bidding process was even completed. 

But Governor Christie is not Jon Corzine, and his battles with the NJEA since January have been well documented.  This is a smart move by Christie.  Given the near-inevitablity of Federal money to the state (money that the Feds would have wanted to go straight to the unions, I’m sure), why not elbow out the greedy unions, and try to implement some real and significant education reform?  Because if not, it would just go to the NJEA to line their union bosses’ pockets.  In other words, business as usual in the Garden State.

Paterson School Chief makes $300K

April 23, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s all for the children, I’m sure:

Federal tax records show a preschool and child-care agency here mainly funded by government pays its top executive more than $300,000 a year […]

The report said Ron Williams, executive director of the B.J. Wilkerson Memorial Child Development Center, which serves about 350 children, has his pay set by the center’s board. Its $4.3 million in revenue in 2008 included $4.2 million in government funds and the remainder from tuition and donations.

As always, remember stories like this when the our state’s public education system cries poverty, that they can’t get enough of New Jersey’s middle class tax dollars.

Keep in mind also, that the average NJ family makes $70,000 a year.

NJ school district superintendent in FBI raid

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment

The Toms River school district approved their budget in this week’s vote.  Superintendent Ritacco will soon have to find some new taxpayers to milk:

FBI agents this morning executed a search warrant at the offices of the Toms River Regional Board of Education and the home of School Superintendent Michael J. Ritacco in connection with a fraud and corruption investigation that may involve the district’s insurance contracts, sources said.

[…]

At least eight unmarked vehicles that appear to belong to FBI agents were at the 62-year-old Ritacco’s modern, three-story home on 11th Avenue in Seaside Park, where a black Mercedes E550 sat in the driveway. FBI agents photographed the interior and exterior of the car.

The home, with a fountain in the meticulously manicured front yard, is one house away from Ocean Avenue, which runs along the ocean. It is one of the few houses on the block with a lawn. It was purchased by Ritacco in 2004 for $882,000.

Wow.  A three-story house a block away from the beach? For nearly $900,000?  A Mercedes E550?  As recently as 2008, Superintendent Scumbag was making about $347,400–all of it on the backs of New Jersey taxpayers.

Doesn’t much sound like the funding-starved public school employees we’ve been hearing about in Jersey the past couple of months does it?   Did I mention that he also has an arena named after him?  

So much corruption, so much waste, so much crap.  No wonder why New Jersey is finally starting to stand up to the nonsense.

Governor Christie wins Round 1

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment

It was a historic day here in the Garden State on Tuesday.  Middle-class voters all across the state made their voices heard behind one unmistakable message:  Stop the insanity in Trenton.

What’s been getting the most attention since January of course, has been the governor’s battle with the NJEA.  The only reason for that is that the union is the only party that has not agreed to any concessions.  Concessions that would help alleviate the hard times of working middle class families in Jersey.  The union would have none of that, of course, and now they are feeling the wrath of the average citizen.   All of this came to a head on Tuesday.

George Will has a good piece in today’s WaPo on the significance of all this, and is definitely worth a read.  He writes:

New Jersey’s governors are the nation’s strongest — American Caesars, really — who can veto line items and even rewrite legislative language. Christie is using his power to remind New Jersey that wealth goes where it is welcome and stays where it is well-treated. Prosperous states are practicing, at the expense of slow learners like New Jersey, “entrepreneurial federalism” — competing to have the most enticing business climate.

What we’re seeing here is a classic ideological case of collectivism vs individualism, of liberalism vs conservatism.  I’ve been making the point all along that conservatives and Republicans all across the country should be watching what Governor Christie has been doing to the mindless robots of the Left, and learn from his example.  This can be repeated over and over and over again, because in the end, individualism always wins out.