Step 1) State what you think the teachers unions are for (this need not be accurate).
Step 2) Oppose it!
Mark this as another landmark achievement for Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic leaders; more important in the end than even the pension and health reform.
State Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) has spent two years drafting this reform, and the past few days greasing a deal that resulted in a unanimous vote in the Senate on Thursday. It is expected to land on Christie’s desk next week after approval in the Assembly.How did this finally happen? In short, because the most potent special interest group in the state, the New Jersey Education Association, was backed into a political corner.
Christie is the first governor in either party with the moxie to challenge the NJEA head-on, a fight that he won in a romp. Along with acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf, he made this a top priority.
And so editorial page chief Tom Moran once again acts like a doctor's mallet to your knee-cap: a purely reflexive spasm against the NJEA without the slightest hesitation for a moment of conscious thought. Let's break this down:Some Democrats pushed hard, too, breaking with a union that is a pillar of their coalition. And private players, such as hedge fund billionaire David Tepper, engaged in this as an act of philanthropy, putting enough money on the table to give the NJEA another big incentive to come along.
- "...more important in the end than even the pension and health reform." Well, that's easy to do: even Tom's page admits the Pen-Ben bill did little to address the real problems with public employee benefits: exploding health care costs and a state government that refuses to meet its obligations in favor of tax gifts for the rich (would someone please explain to me how Tom can be so right about taxes and so wrong about teachers?).
Rupert Murdoch has a direct financial interest in "reform," yet he gets a pass in Tom's mind. Teachers? Yeah, not so much...
But here's the real problem with Tom's assertion: he actually thinks the NJEA got played! He thinks the union lost this battle! I'll tell you what, Tom:
Here's the original NJEA tenure proposal. Here's Ruiz's original bill. Here's a comparison from the NJEA of the two. And here's Chris Christie's original draft bill.
I dare you, Tom, to make a case that the final Ruiz bill is more like Christie's or Ruiz's original bill than the NJEA proposal. Even though the final bill, which you are cheering:
- Retains seniority,
- Rejects mutual consent, and
- Keeps due process.
The original Ruiz bill did exactly the opposite of the above. But go ahead, Tom - I'd love to see you try to twist this into anything but a win for the NJEA. Try to convince us that retaining seniority and due process and no mutual consent is a loss for the union.
Good luck with that...
- "Christie is the first governor in either party with the moxie to challenge the NJEA head-on, a fight that he won in a romp."
Tom, see above. Look at what Christie gave up: less than two years ago, he wanted to "eliminate" tenure and replace it with five-year contracts. (Check out the video: Christie does explicitly say "eliminate.") I know it gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside to believe that teachers got the shaft; too bad that's not the case.
Again: there are times when Tom Moran shows insight and sophistication about a subject; taxes are a good example. But he is hopelessly clueless about education and teachers. Time and again, he relies on people who have developed a talent for selling themselves to the media, but lack expertise or experience in the topics at hand.
I still have serious concerns about the Ruiz bill, but if Christie signs it, there is one big upside:
It will probably be a good long while before I have to read another ill-informed, illogical editorial in the Star-Ledger about tenure. Not all is lost...