I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Education Commissioner Bret Schundler has a vid out on YouTube where he answers pre-screened questions about the budget. I'd think the Education Commissioner would want to talk about education as opposed to budgets, but...

Part One - Part Two

Some highlights - Part I:

0:00: Notice Mike Kc's premise that schools have "bloated overpaid administration" is immediately embraced by Schundler. Bruce Baker explains:
School level administrators are a relatively small share of school personnel. Not shown here, but also relevant is the fact that school level administrative salaries are only marginally higher than senior teacher salaries. As such, it is highly unlikely that one can cut substantially close budget gaps by cutting “administrative fat” alone.
 0:42: Again, an unchallenged premise: big districts arising out of merging are more efficient than smaller districts. Some people who've looked at this think a little differently.

1:59: Are you getting as sick as I am of hearing that the blame for this is on Corzine spending stimulus money meant for two years in just one? Is it just coincidence that the tax cut for those making over $400K is about as big as the cut in state aid to schools?

4:40: "...we really think that we have spread the pain..." Lots to be proud of there. Oh, and "spread the pain"? See above, re: those making over $400K.

Part II:

0:00: Vouchers. Always with the vouchers. If your local school is not safe, Bret Schundler should get up off his duff and MAKE IT SAFE. That, I believe, is his job.

2:05: "Most of the academic literature suggests that small schools are very good for children." Yes, he said it - remember this.

3:03: Oh, we LOVE teachers! It's just that we think they are too stupid to realize that they have a union that isn't looking out for them. It's not like those poor, dumb teachers vote for their union's leadership or anything.

3:53: Schundler says teachers' salaries should rise in-line with those in the private sector. So, Bret, can we infer that you and Chris are for rectifying the fact that people in the private sector with the same education and experience do much better than teachers when it comes to wages?
... teachers at specific experience and degree levels appear to earn an annual wage about 67% of that of their non-teaching peers – annually. Okay, but they don’t work as many weeks. So, they earned 67% of the wage for working 87% of the time. Still a significant disparity.
4:50: "When teachers agree to forego an increase... they've done a lot." If you really believe that, Bret, then tell the guv to stop insulting the teachers who've made that sacrifice.

5:11: Again, no acknowledgement of the fact that freezing wages leads to a decrease in income tax revenue - how are you going to make that up, fellas? And the money is very, very small: it adds up to 0.3% of the teacher workforce, and that's with VERY generous figures from the administration.

5:58: Nice choice of question - not showing a little bias against NJEA in picking this guy, huh Bret?

6:48 "Accelerating children's learning." Kids aren't race cars: you don't necessarily measure success by how early they learn something.

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