The average New Jersey teacher makes $61,277 a year, well above the U.S. average of $52,800, according to the National Education Association. New Jersey teachers get medical and other benefits costing $19,140 a year, according to the teachers union. The New Jersey Treasurer estimates its unfunded liabilities relating to lifetime health benefits for current and retired teachers is $36.32 billion.
Talk about completely out of control!
My fave political figure of the moment, NJ Governor Chris Christie, has tried many times to make the distinction between his supporting education yet being against the teachers’ political extortion machine. This weekend, the Wall Street Journal has the whole story of the epic battle that is being watched by political players across the country.
Here’s some flavor about Christie’s uncompromising attitude toward the head of the teachers’ union, Barbara Keshishian…
Mr. Christie and Ms. Keshishian first crossed each other in June 2009, when the NJEA invited gubernatorial candidates to audition for its endorsement. Mr. Christie refused to attend. In a letter, he said he wasn’t seeking the endorsement because it would “require promises…that will not be kept.” The NJEA endorsed then-Gov. Jon Corzine, ran ads against Mr. Christie and worked phone banks on Election Day for the Democrat.
After the Republican’s victory, Ms. Keshishian sent a letter congratulating Mr. Christie and requested a meeting to “work together on our commonly shared goals.” He didn’t respond.
At his January inauguration, Mr. Christie called New Jersey schools “broken” and said they “have failed despite massive spending.” The next month, he called for pension and benefits changes.
I’m rooting for Christie even though I’m only in Jersey for the occasional Giants game. If he’s successful in his state, the chain reaction across America could actually save us. Imagine a new crop of pols who can do basic math and haven’t forgotten how to pronounce the word “no”.