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

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


So NJ lost in in the final round of Race To The Top funding. Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen so much hoopla over so little money: NJ was applying for $400 million spread out over four years. To put that into perspective, Christie cut $1.3 billion in state aid this year alone.

And the price to pay for such a pittance? As far as I'm concerned, it was too high to begin with. As I blogged before, here's what RTTT money would have meant:
- Merit pay. Hasn't worked yet, but full speed ahead!

- Charter schools. Weak to no gains so far, but full speed ahead!

- Teacher evaluations and dismissals based on standardized tests. Error rates of 25%-35%, but full speed ahead!

- Institutionalizing the testing culture of schools. Big problems looming with cheating as the stakes in these tests get higher - really big problems - but full speed ahead!

- Rewarding states for their commitment to educational reform. So far, some of the worst states have been rewarded, but full speed ahead!

Some race...

We may be lost, but we're making great time!


thinker said...

The best part is that we keep hearing that these reforms are coming with or without the rttp funds. Christie's education reforms WILL result in higher education costs, thereby resulting in higher taxes. Don't believe me? Let's imagine....

If this governor gets his way on all the tenure/salary/pension reforms, I predict a massive teacher shortage within the next five to ten years, one that will begin and grow twice as quickly (if not even faster) in poor urban areas. Once you begin tying teacher pay to student performance, the turnover will be massive in the urban districts, where students historically do not perform as well on standardized tests. How can anyone not see this coming? Particularly if we start firing "poor performing" teachers when their students don't do well on these tests-how many teachers will we fire in, say, Camden or Newark on a yearly basis? And how many applicants will be lining up for those jobs? A shortage of applicants will result in the state either lowering the standards for teaching applicants, accepting foreign teachers or those without degrees (who thinks that is a great plan?), or in providing more money to entice teachers to want to teach there. And just imagine the money that will be needed to pay the lawyers for all the many lawsuits that Jazzman rightuflly points out are likely to result from the error laden teacher evaluations that are coming.

And let's not forget that teacher raises are going to be capped at 2%, even after the private sector recovers. Hmmm...what else? Eliminating tenure will result in salary shopping, take a look a what happened when they eliminated tenure for superintendents. Lower pensions and teachers paying more toward their health care costs (which means even lower take home pay for teachers)...no one can foresee that this is hardly going to be a career that young people will consider if they want to, I don't know, pay their bills? What happens when there is a shortage of teachers? See my example above.

Think it through people....this will cost you as the state and municipalities struggle to put bodies in the classroom. Teachers are not robots that will work for free, no matter how much they love your children and if you think they are, you are fooling yourselves.

Duke said...

Well put - hope you don't mind, I used this for a new post. As always, thanks for visiting.