Where is the NJEA? What are they doing about this defamation? I hope they are not making any more "teachers aren't that bad" ads. Who, besides Jazzman, will confront the slogans and insults and lies?
Go to the NJEA web site. They are fighting the good fight but are fighting against a hostile media and anti-union oligarch billions. The NJEA is damned if they do and cursed if they don't. If they spend money to get ads, to get air time, then the right wingers claim that the NJEA is wasting teachers' money. If the NJEA airs ads, it's called a bully and a bunch of thugs. The NJEA is walking on egg shells and they have to be careful not to appear too strident, too extreme because they are fighting the whole mainstream media and especially NJ 101.5, that hateful loudmouthed anti-union hate wing radio station. NJ 101.5 doesn't have to care about objectivity, facts or fairness. They can be as strident and extreme as they want, no problem, no consquences, no costs to them. Christie has an unlimited free bully pulpit with which to demonize the NJEA and teachers. The NJEA has to spend millions to even get a toe into the media door. CC gets unlimited time on NJ 101.5, Fox News and hate wing radio, in general. The NJEA is held to a much higher standard than CC or NJ 101.5. The Bully and his shills can sling mud like crazy but if the NJEA so much as belches in public, it is mocked, scorned and swift boated non stop, every day, 24/7 all year for eternity and into far distant galaxies.
A great question, and an excellent answer, with an exception: I'm not prepared as of now to say that NJ 101.5 is totally anti-union. Firing Casey Bartholomew went a long way toward moderating their programming. The other morning, I tuned in to Gearhart for a few minutes, and he was quite complimentary toward a teacher. There's hope.
The NJEA has one primary function: to serve their members. If they become too bellicose, they lose the ability to bargain effectively with the local school boards. They are, in fact, held to a different standard than Christie; the commenter is quite right about that.
NJEA is not given the same platform as the governor, and that gives them a natural disadvantage. When they are given an outlet, I think they do a good job. But they are in an untenable position and they have to consider their role in negotiating contracts and fighting for their members rights at the local level. So they are constrained.
But guess who isn't? Teachers and parents.
The corporate reform movement can spar with the unions, but they can't take on teachers and parents without looking petty and mean. They certainly can't question the motivations of parents, and they look ridiculous when they claim moral high ground over teachers making mid-figures while they themselves are funded by billionaires.
Despite the relentless attacks on the unions from both sides of the political aisle, teaching is still a profession that people hold in high regard. People know that teachers are generally not greedy people and that the job is not easy. Polls may show they support "reform," but that says very little about specific proposals; everybody's for "reform" of one sort or another.
If teachers start standing up and explaining why the proposals being pushed by the reformyists - gutting tenure, merit pay, vouchers, charters, high-stakes testing - are bad for students and schools, people will listen. If parents start challenging the "evidence" that any of this stuff will work, reformyists will have to answer.
Parents and teachers are the biggest threat to the corporate reform movement, and the reformy types all know it. They have no answers when confronted by these two groups, who directly serve the biggest stakeholders in the system: the students.
We parents and teachers are dangerous.