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

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Soviet-Style Educator Pay

Like all bullies, Chris Christie thinks the rules don't apply to him - he's special. Now New Jersey's schools begin to pay the price for his arrogance:
A month after being honored on the floor of the state Senate, New Jersey’s school superintendent of the year is headed to New York, another consequence of the Christie administration’s cap on school administration salaries. 
Roy Montesano, the superintendent of Ramsey schools, was expected to be formally approved last night as the next superintendent in Hastings, NY, right over the Tappan Zee Bridge. The district put out a release last week announcing the hire 
Montesano, a 30-plus year educator in New Jersey schools, yesterday was careful to say the caps didn’t force him over the border, but he said they were certainly a factor in his decision to leave the state. 
“With what is coming out of Trenton, it is forcing some of us to consider other options,” Montesano said in an interview. “It has opened us up to other opportunities.” 
In Hastings, he will earn $235,000, according to the New York district. In Ramsey, Montesano now makes $226,000, he said, but under the new salary caps, that would have gone down to $167,500 when his current contract expires in two years. 
Montesano, part of a family of four brothers who were each New Jersey superintendents, said the prospect of a 30-percent pay cut with a child off to college was difficult to manage. “The math doesn’t add up well,” he said. 
He’s not the only superintendent to depart. Montesano’s brother Jim also left New Jersey schools, where he was last the superintendent in Paramus, to become superintendent in Nyack, N.Y. And New Jersey superintendents are retiring or leaving the state at nearly double the rate since the caps were put in place at the start of last year. “I’m sure there will be more of us,” Montesano said.
In Christie's world, if Montesano doesn't give up $67,500, he's a greedy SOB who doesn't really care about kids. Because Christie and Christie alone knows what a superintendent should make, and labor market pressures can go take a flying leap.

By the way, the cap was never about saving money: it was always the first step in reducing teacher salaries. New Jersey has paid teachers less than New York for some time now, even as teacher salaries in Jersey haven't kept pace with the rest of the labor market (it's all here). Simple economics - which Christie apparently knows nothing about - dictate people will go where they can get paid more for their skills.

For a guy who goes on and on about how important it is to have good teachers, Christie has never shown the slightest understanding of the phrase "you get what you pay for." He believes the government should intercede and attempt to disrupt the labor market. Where have we seen this type of thinking before?

The Politburo shall determine your teachers' salaries, young Boris...


Anonymous said...

WOW! What a post! You are advocating free market compensation now?

The entire NJEA compensation platform is based on Soviet/Chinese style communism, faceless robots marching along with their 4 percent herd raises and no individual measurement or merit payment. That you can twist that around is the height, or depth of myopic propaganda.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the rabid anti-NJEA troll robot is here right on schedule with his straw men, red herrings, corporate anti-union propaganda and talking points. The NJEA does not negotiate pay raises for the teachers, that is the job of the local associations. It's a mutual negotiation worked out between the local association and the school board. The NJEA is not even in the picture, not in the room where the local and the school board hammer things out. By the way, the principals are not members of the NJEA and have nothing to do with the NJEA. The NJEA does not advocate for principals; the principals have their own groups, their own association separate from the teachers and the NJEA.

Anonymous said...

Yes...negotiate contracts under which all teachers in a district are compensated communist style without distinctions between whether they teach kindergarten gym or high school physics, work long hours or the minimum, etc.

The local negotiators are NJEA trianed, and if the negotiations stall the NJEA sends in their ninjas. And if those negotiations fail the state mandates an average of the last settlements.

More to the point, this is the model the NJEA supports and advocates, so its trained negotiators year after year can go up against some terrified BOE soccer mom worried about her daughter's grades.

For a NJEA unionista to scream communism at anyone is hilarious!

Duke said...

Anon, your ignorance is astonishing:

1) Union contracts do differentiate pay: on education and experience. Just like every other profession.

2) The state cannot mandate a local contract, which is why so many districts do not have settlements now.

3) If this model is so great, why haven't teacher wages kept pace with average wages across the state? I won't debate you on the truth of this unless you can point-by-point rebut my post under "The Essential Jazzman" called the "Fact Toolkit" - see left column.

Keep my sitemeter spinning...

DrPhrogg said...

I am astounded by the blind anti-teacher rhetoric in NJ. Teachers have always made less than their public sector counter-parts, in spite of the comments about lack of dedication to children. The lower salaries were compensated by the delayed benefits of medical and pension in retirement. Get over it, people. Teaching is a job, just like any other. We demand the best quality in teachers, but don't want to pay for that quality. Sure, you have to enjoy working with kids, and putting up with parents who know more about teaching than you do because they were a student once. You put up with tax payers who don't want to pay for education, but keep having kids. Seriously, what do you think is going to happen to the cost of private schools when demand goes up due to choice & vouchers? Then the courts will order full funding of the failing public schools, because only the poor who cannot afford to get out will be left. Now you will be paying for two competing systems. On top of that, the best teachers will have left the state for more money. We have families to feed too. Good teachers remaining will go to private schools for better conditions, and the state will have to pay more to attract competent teachers to urban districts. Open your eyes, it is already happening. Be careful what you ask for: you might just get it.

Anonymous said...

Union contracts do differentiate pay: on education and experience. Just like every other profession.

WOW....you are just totally disconnectd from reality. Every other profession is based on SUCCEESS. Immersion in the socialist world of advancement by number of breaths has led to total insanity among the NJEA core hive. Actually, that isn't even true. The NJEA now is recognizing the need for merit pay and tenure reform and measurement for compensation based on SUCESS AND COMPETENCY not Jazzman's :"experience and education". Just a few remote outposts of socialism like this try to push that as somehow logical.

You still have never answered the basic question: if tenure reform and merit pay and teacher evaluations are so unnecessary, why does the NJEA suddenly in July 2011 recognize the need for them?

Duke said...

"Every other profession is based on SUCCEESS."



Anonymous said...

whatever. You have adopted the trolly habit of choosing one point of a ten point post and mocking it. It is the adult equivalent of a child knocking over the game board when he is checkmated.

You still have never answered the basic question: if tenure reform and merit pay and teacher evaluations are so unnecessary, why does the NJEA suddenly in July 2011 recognize the need for them?

Anonymous said...

The anti-NJEA, anti traditional public school zealot is prone to throwing the "s" word around to scare and intimidate the sane commenters. Red baiting is an old Joe McCarthy tactic. Just scream socialism in an attempt to hijack the conversation and pollute any attempt at reasoned discussion. Aren't public schools (including charters) an example of socialism? Aren't the police, fire fighters (even volunteer fire departments get public money for all the buildings and equipment), the judicial system, public roads, maintaining the whole infrastructure examples of SOCIALISM? Aren't the military, the VA, the GI Bill, medicare, medicaid and Social Security all examples of socialism (to right wing nutters)???? In the libertarian right wing nut utopia, there would be no public schools, only private schools or home schooling and if you could not afford a private school then tough luck to you. It's really the last resort of a scoundrel to repeatedly scream socialism for anything that helps ordinary Americans. Most sane Americans like having public schools, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, police, fire fighters and a judicial system, all publicly funded (oh horrors, that's socialism).

Duke said...

Anon: I'm sorry, I was under the delusion that this is MY blog and I can answer or nor answer any question I want.

I was also unaware that I now speak for the NJEA. Why don't you go ask them?

Keep my sitemeter spinning.