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

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lies, Damn Lies, and Christie's Statistics

So Christie's big education reform plan is out. It's going to take a while to dig through it, but let me pick on example right from the beginning to show that you just can't trust anything this governor says about teachers or schools.

From the report (pdf):

The Average Teacher Salary Increased 5.9% In Just Two Years From ’07-’08 To ’09-’10. 
The average full-time teacher salary in New Jersey for 2007-2008 was $61,478. 
The average full-time teacher salary in New Jersey for 2009-2010 was $65,123. 

I guess that 5.9% is supposed to be shocking somehow. Look at these greedy, complaining teachers and their outrageous pay increases!

Except, where's the comparison to everyone else? Let's make it easy and split the difference: wage increases of about 3% a year for NJ teachers according to the above.

Compare to the national Employment Cost Index from 2001 to 2010 (from the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Remember, we're looking to compare wage increases to 3%:

B : Includes wages, salaries, and employer costs for employee benefits.
C : See Footnote C on www.bls.gov/ect/cimapnote.htm.

Look at how things start to tank at the end of 2008. Remember that little problem we had with Wall Street? AIG? Derivatives and credit-default swaps and all the other stuff we still don't have straight answers about?

But look at the raises in wages before that: how could anyone say teacher wage increases were out of line with 3% increases?

People also need to remember that almost all teacher contracts are negotiated in 3-year cycles; it takes that long for ALL teacher wages to respond to market pressures. But that works the other way as well: when (and if) overall wages begin to climb, teacher wages will not increase until all of the current contracts run their course.

So, how did teachers do in the last round of negotiations? Last year, the average contract settled at a raise of 2.03%. Contracts settled later in the spring - after the school board election jihad Christie waged - settled at 1.58%.

So, once again, Christie has cherry-picked statistics to his liking to present an utterly false picture of actual teacher wages.

Why should we trust him on anything?

ADDING: I am an amateur at this stuff - I freely admit it. And I know comparing the ECI to teacher contract increases is not apples-to-apples. But it's the best I can do. If anyone has a better way to do this, let me know.

(Again - more to come...)


Anonymous said...

One thing to notice is that EVERY single time that teachers are referred to by a pronoun, it is "she" or "her."

He-Man Woman Haters again?

Duke said...

Anon: bullseye!