But his post also struck me for this:
NJOSA would provide scholarships to children in families below the 250% income threshold for poverty. The text of the bill indicates that eligible children are those either attending a chronically failing school in one of the districts above or eligible to enroll in such school in the following year (which would seem to include any child within the attendance boundaries of these districts even if presently already enrolled in private schools). [emphasis mine]Here's the language of the bill on eligibility:
What does that translate into for a dollar amount? Well, the poverty level for a family of four in the contiguous 48 states is $22,350. 250% of that is $55, 875."Low-income child" means a child from a household with an income that does not exceed 2.50 times the official federal poverty threshold for the calendar year preceding the school year for which an educational scholarship is to be distributed.
Understand, however, that this doesn't really take into account that New Jersey is an expensive place to live, particularly when accounting for housing costs. According to this living wage calculator from Penn State, a living wage in Newark is more than three times the poverty wage. So think about all that for a second... then consider this:
The median teacher salary in New Jersey is $57,467. In other words, the typical, college-educated, New Jersey teacher is making a wage barely above what the OSA bill calls "low-income."
"Wait!" scream the trolls! "You get summers off!" Yes, lucky us: we have an unpaid furlough every summer, so we have to go find seasonal work for minimum wage. Gosh, what fun!
"But, but, but... GOLD-PLATED BENEFITS!" Yeah, funny about that: in a few years, that teacher making the median salary will be paying thousands of dollars a year more for both pension and health care; in fact, the drain on teacher pay has already started. Thanks, Senator Sweeney, you great friend of unions!
I dare any supporter of OSA to tell me that teachers are "well-paid" - especially you, governor.
ADDING: Oops! Just realized I'm using the poverty guidelines, and the bill uses the poverty thresholds. Stand by...
The Federal Poverty Threshold in 2011 for a family of four is $23,018. 250% is $57,545. My median teacher number is from 2010, so it's a Gala-to-Macintosh comparison: pretty darn close.
I really do try to get this stuff right.