Sunday, April 25, 2010

Star Ledger Goes To Bat For Teachers Union

The teachers unions in New Jersey gets a boost from the Star Ledger in a report claiming that because of changes being proposed by Gov. Christie, 29,000 teachers will consider retiring rather than accepting changes to their pensions and benefits. The plan would allow teachers to retire before August 1 with their current benefits packages intact, but would reduce the benefits for those retiring after August 1.

They warn that teachers will retire sooner under the current benefits package than watch their benefits get cut if they wait longer to retire.

That's just so much nonsense particularly since many of these teachers would need to continue working to afford to live in New Jersey and yet the tax hikes necessary to fund these benefits makes it unaffordable for everyone else to live and work in New Jersey.

So, this isn't about teaching the kids, but whether these teachers see their benefits get cut so that they are more affordable to school districts. Taxpayers in New Jersey are working to satisfy the worst tax burden in the nation, and more than half the districts in the state rejected their school budgets because of tax hikes that towns sought. Many sought tax hikes that would raise property taxes up to 10%. That's just insane, and yet districts hoped voters (and taxpayers) would go along with it.

Basically, the Star Ledger is calling for tax hikes to keep teachers on board, even though taxpayers can't afford it, and that any changes to the system would result in teachers retiring in significant numbers.

If many of these teachers are in it for the love of teaching students, would they not be opting to stick around even if the teachers see their benefits cut for the sake of helping school districts balance their budgets and maintain their level of teaching?

Then, there's still the issue of state spending and redistribution of tax revenues to fund education in the expanded post-Abbott district funding scheme. The money spent on the Abbott districts has not yielded the kinds of results anyone should find acceptable, and yet the spending continues by spreading the money among even more districts. Instead of spending in the classroom, the money gets spread throughout a bureaucracy and student performance isn't anywhere near what it should be.

That is something that still must be addressed.

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