Chris Christie is Taking the Teachers to School..

Posted 3/23/10 by D-Mac

One of the most underrated aspects of living in NJ is the sheer entertainment value of the local political scene. Scandals, corruption, bitter feuds.. it all  makes following the political landscape in NJ a damn entertaining spectator sport.

The latest fiasco involves our new governer, Chris Christie, taking on one of the most powerful entities in the state.. the teachers union. To summarize the situation.. NJ’s budget isn’t even close to what it needs to be; unemployment is hovering around 10% and a great number of us lucky enough to have jobs at this point have taken substantial paycuts throughout this recession. Pair that up with the highest property taxes in the country and you have a nice battle brewing between the private sector and the public sector right now.

That's odd.. who would steal thirty sack lunches?

The time is right to go after a lot of the institutions of this state that never should have been in the first place. Out of control pensions, retirement packages, completely state covered health care, and guaranteed pay raises even during times of economic crisis.. and our governer, God bless his chunky little heart, is taking the fight right to the employees of the State.

Don’t get me wrong.. I have all of the admiration in the world for the teachers in this state and the job that they do for our children.. I just feel that their leadership is delusional. All the governer is proposing right now is that the teachers union accept a freeze on their salary increases.. not even a paycut.. just asking that they don’t get a raise..  and to contribute 1.5% of their income to their health care plan. So for a teacher making $60,000 which seems to be about the average for a tenured teacher with a few years of experience.. this would amount to $900 per year.

To people that have taken upwards of 25% of their salary paycuts over the past two years and contribute a teensy bit more than 1.5% of their salary to their health plans.. for these teachers to be taking off from school and going to march down in Trenton.. let’s just put it this way, I don’t think they’re winning too much sympathy from the public right now. Matter of fact, they’re so caught up in their union and what they think is right that they’re not even realizing a lot of  citizens, myself included,  think they’re being childish and selfish.

Let’s face it.. teaching is a good gig. If you get into the right school system and put in three years of solid work to attain your tenure.. you pretty much can coast by the rest of your career, enjoying your summers off and not worrying about job security because you have a powerful union standing behind you. Oh, I know that’s oversimplifying it.. but it’s at least close. I think every kid inherently knows who their good teachers are growing up and those that are “phoning it in” ..even though we didn’t have the adult awareness to see teachers as human beings earning a paycheck to realize why some teachers were better than others.

While I admire what the governer is doing right now, I think a different approach needs to be taken. If you start taking away from people, they’re eventually going to fight back… so I say, leave everything in place the way it is. Pensions, scheduled pay raises, fully covered health care.. leave it all in place..

… but

What is most parents biggest expense next to their mortgage or rent? Most likely the answer is daycare or aftercare expenses. I mean, some of these places are so expensive that a mother going back to work can just about break even when it comes to offsetting childcare costs..

Well, what is one of most common things you hear teachers say whenever you talk about how sweet their work hours are. “Well, my day doesn’t end at 3:00. I have to go home, grade papers, work on lesson plans.. bla, bla, bla.”

So you have people paying good money to have their kids bussed to private businesses for aftercare programs and all of these school buildings are just sitting empty. I think all teachers should be required to stay until 5:15pm. That way, parents don’t have to pay for aftercare and teachers can help students with their homework and also have some extra time to do their grading and lesson plans and can go home done for the day. I mean, what’s the difference between going home at 3:15 and doing all of your extra work there or doing it at the school after hours?

Also.. summers off? Nobody else gets those.. so why should you. We have these school buildings which are bought and paid for just sitting there empty all summer and state employees getting paid twelve month salaries for nine months worth of work.. combine the two and now you have day camps for the kids to help save parents a ton of money. I am sure most parents would be more than happy to contribute $100 a month for supplies and some extra expenses for field trips here or there.. Explain to me why you can’t work during the summer. Please. With all of the daycare and camp expenses that parents could save, do you know the kick ass stories you would get from kids in the first week of school when they have to write, “What I Did On My Summer Vacation?” Instead of the same boring stories of LBI, you could hear about fun stuff, like how they spent a week in the care of a nanny in Amsterdam while their parents disappeared for hours at a time.

Oh, you’re about to post on your Facebook page how excited you are for the possible snow day tomorrow? Well, good news..  since you’re state workers and rather than just have you sit home doing nothing, we’re going to cross train you to operate snowplows, so the government can save a ton of money by having to outsource the work to off season landscaping companies. Ok, so maybe I’m partially kidding about that one.. but snow days are for the kids safety.. not yours. So, make your way on down to the school.. cause chances are parents have to go to work regardless of the weather and you’re going to set up a classroom for the day for those kids.

So to summarize.. make teachers work until a little after 5:00pm year round like the other 98% of the population and keep all of their benefits and pensions exactly the same. Seems fair to me.

What do you think?


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