Chris Christie Explains the Fiscal Facts of Life to a Teacher

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If we are going to get out of the fiscal pit that we find ourselves in, it will take this type of hard-nosed attitude.  Bravo Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey !

26 Responses to Chris Christie Explains the Fiscal Facts of Life to a Teacher

  • Rock star, in the best sense.

  • Impressive performance, and that’s coming from a liberal dem and in general supporter of U.S. union movement, or what’s left of it. Times are tough, though, and the gov makes some good points about shared sacrifice. I think that’s all part of solidarity, forever.

  • I love Christie, too. While I watched it, I thanked my lucky stars I was never cross-examined by the man. :-)

    However, isn’t it a sad commentary on today’s political scene that we conservatives are so impressed and thrilled by a Republican who actually talks like a Republican is supposed to talk? It shows just how accustomed we have become to PC and double-talk. Being blunt and displaying common sense seems revolutionary.

  • I continue to be impressed by him. The key is that he actually has command of the facts, not just opinions, theory or emotions. You can’t have a serious debate if people are just throwing around slogans that play to your base. I really like the way he called out the teacher for failing to give him the appropriate respect in the beginning.

  • And hey, I didn’t spot a teleprompter. A pol who can command the stage without one – is that even possible? ;-)

  • Yeah, and did you hear that his buddy Mike Castle is (notwithstanding his recent ACU rating of 28%, a lifetime NARAL rating of 100%, and his vote last year in favor of cap & tax) a “conservative”?

    The Governor says he wants to do for NJ government what Castle has done for Delaware? That’s a joke, right?

    Straight talk? Or B.S.?

    I’ve been a big Christie fan, but he lost a lot of my respect with his farcical glowing endorsement of Castle’s alleged “small-government” and “anti-regulatory” (did I mention he voted in favor of cap & tax?) credentials.

  • “I was told that I was destroying public education in New Jersey to ask teachers to make that contribution — 1 1/2 percent of salary”

    Since when is that too much to ask for both employee AND dependent coverage? As an employee of the State of Illinois I pay about 7.5 percent of my gross salary for HMO/PPO employee and dependent coverage. I know a lot of people would kill to have health insurance that cost them that little, and if my cost went up one-half or one percent every year I still wouldn’t complain. Yet the NJ teachers union admits they would want to kill this guy over 1.5 percent. Yikes.

  • That’s fine, as long as they put a freeze on the amount of unpaid hours teachers have to work grading papers, doing planning in the summer, etc., plus the hours and money wasted on useless “continuing education.”

  • Try pay 40% that Hawaii teachers pay. New Jersey teachers; you are dang lucky.

  • GodSGadfly:

    Lets see public schoolteachers make on average $70,000 per year (a guess)get two weeks off at Christmas (i’m sorry that would be the Winter Solstice break) two weeks for Spring break and 3 months off in the summer. Wow that is grueling.

  • Very impressive.

  • That’s fine, as long as they put a freeze on the amount of unpaid hours teachers have to work grading papers

    Where are schoolteachers hourly workers?

  • It is disingenuous to pretend that teachers don’t work hard. Despite their hours, their work load is immense.

    That said, teachers’ unions stink. Obscene amounts of their union dues go to political causes that have only tenuous links to education. In many states, they make it almost impossible to fire teachers. And the way most if not all unions these days, but especially unions for public employees, expect raises and benefits when the people paying their salaries are lucky to even have a job disgusts me.

    Some people I know from New Jersey consider Christie to be a terrible governor who is ruining their schools. But when I ask them where the money is supposed to come from for the school expenses they want, they have no answer.

  • But when I ask them where the money is supposed to come from for the school expenses they want, they have no answer.

    The answers are: raise taxes, cut compensation, reduce expenditure on supplies, or reduce the size of the workforce through attrition and dismissal. I suppose you could add ‘transfer funds from other components of the state budget’, but those other offices have people working in them as well (who may or may not have an answer).

    I would assume New Jersey is the same as New York: the completion of an MEd. degree is necessary for retention of one’s position. Evidently completion of that course of study does not require one to be able to think straight.

  • “Get off”? Did you pay attention to what I said? Obviously, Art Deco and AfghaniStan don’t know any teachers.

    How many jobs require you to get an advanced degree and then still constantly take college or graduate courses–normally at your own expense–just to maintain a license? And then continuing education courses on top of that?

    And you think the hours you put into planning can be made up for in the future, but, no. There’s a new textbook every 2 years, or you move to a different school, or get a whole new subject.

    The teachers who get recognized for their “excellence” are, by and large, the ones who work 16 hours a day.

    And what does being hourly have to do with anything? Federal law says FT is 40 hours a week, and anything else is overtime. At least at the college level, they presume our planning and grading hours into it.

    Look at what a teacher makes per year versus a comparable college graduate. Yes, I know they make a lot more in Union states like PA, NY or NJ than they do in VA or SC, but a person with a bachelor’s degree should be making at least about $60K starting.

    Heck, an RN with just an Associate’s can make $60K starting.

    Plus the stress. And these days, the fact that there’s no enforcement of discipline. Republicans complain about budgets, but I don’t see them rushing to fire the useless administrators and district and state bureaucrats who collect six-digit salaries for sitting on their rear ends doing nothing: because they’re people who hated the classroom to begin with, got bigger degrees and got out, then got promoted on Peter Principle when they proved to be horrible school principals.

    My wife spent 2 years working for an absolutely sadistic anti-Catholic lesbian Episcopalian sociopath who can’t even write an e-mail but gets to be a principal because she’s from an old money Charleston family and friends with Gov. Sanford.

    *That’s* where the real education reform needs to come, but the politicians of neither party will actually do it because cronyism is so important to them.

    So, on top of the ridiculous demands that are made of a teacher’s time (let’s not even get started on lunch duty, yard duty, required extracurricular activities, etc.), most teachers have to work other jobs just to make ends meet. When I was a teenager, my father taught FT high school, taught college courses in the evenings, and played the organ for 6 Masses a week. Much of that just went to paying my medical bills.

    And he was proud to do it: but a little appreciation and respect meant far more to him than income, and every time he hear schoolteachers getting lambasted as a class, particularly from his fellow Catholics, it broke his heart.

  • Do you know how much a teacher with a Master’s degree makes? About the equivalent of 3 years of pay steps. So another $30K in tuition down the drain that will never be paid off by the salary that comes with it, without taking one of those aforementioned district jobs that go to people with the right friends.

    And these days, while useless assistant superintendents are keeping their jobs, educational specialists are the ones who get cut in the budget cutsl. This means that people with M.Ed. and Ed.S. degrees and experience in higher-level jobs are looking for work as regular classroom teachers, making it harder for those who “just” have bachelor degrees to even get jobs.

    So back up to the time and money it costs to get a Master’s while working (or while being unemployed and trying to support a family), just to have a chance at getting a job your $60,000 bachelor’s degree was supposed to get you to begin with.

    Then get a bottom-of-the barrel job at the worst rural or inner-city school, having a bunch of kids threaten your life all day, call you “honkey” and “cracker” and “white trash” and “redneck.” My wife had students, when she was pregnant, say, “I’d like to roll her down the stairs and kill her baby.” She has had students threaten to kill her, take swings at her, etc., often with no reprisals from the school.

    Meanwhile, I’m making about $15 an hour on average as a college adjunct instructor, having to pay some guy $75 to spend 10 minutes sticking a rubber ring back on my air conditioner.

    Those are the “facts of life” for the average teacher.

  • How many jobs require you to get an advanced degree and then still constantly take college or graduate courses–normally at your own expense–just to maintain a license? And then continuing education courses on top of that?

    Sounds a lot like many facets of the engineering world.

  • GG,

    Coming from a family of teachers, let’s get real here. Preparation is part of the job. It’s not something you should get paid extra for. Teaching involves more then stepping into class with a grin on your face. So if the hours of preparation make the job hours closer to 9-5 during the school year, you’re STILL getting paid 55-75K+ in nj to work 180 days a year. Office employees in the private sector who (GASP) sometimes have to take work home too, work the same hours for 50 weeks a year and pay into their health insurance don’t make much more than that.

    As for continuing education requirements, in NJ at least there is no requirement to get a masters degree. I know many tenured teachers who don’t have one, though many do choose to pursue one (usually through night classes) to get the pay raise that comes with it.

    So…next.

  • Curious. Does anyone know if the education requirements for teachers are the result of government led requirements or something that was instituted by the union(s)?

  • GodsGadfly,

    If you be a salaried employee, you are not on the clock and complaining about uncompensated overtime is incoherent.

    Nurses earn good salaries because of the dynamics of supply and demand in that particular zone of the labor market. The salary differential between nurses and schoolteachers is one reason (among many others) to choose nursing over schoolteaching as a career. Of course, that is not the only factor that goes into career choice.

    The salaries of nurses are enhanced by licensing requirements and by public subsidies to the consumption of medical services. Both of these factors, however, operate in spades in the market for the services of schoolteachers. Because in excess of 90% of the primary and secondary teachers in the United States are employed by public agencies, the salaries of teachers are essentially an administered price. I do not know about where you live, but where I live teachers commonly retire at 55. In comparing compensation across occupations, you do need to take account of the enhanced retirement benefits public sector employees commonly enjoy.

    My sympathies with regard to your wife’s rancid working conditions, but the appropriate policy response to that has aught to do with teacher salaries, capital budgets, or supply budgets and not a whole lot to do with staffing levels.

  • Interesting. Like most debates, the governor and the teacher he is responding to are in need of a fact checker for their comments. Yes, the economy is tough for everyone right now. Teachers, I being one of them here in NJ, have the unique experience of working 10 months out of the year. Our salaries reflect the fact that we do not work in the summer months. I left the private sector over 10 years ago and just this year I am making what I made when I left private industry in 2000. However, I took the pay cut and made the jump to do something that I love and that I enjoy. When my colleagues in the private sector received thousands of dollars each year in raises and bonuses when the economy was booming, I did not begrudge their successes or feel that I was entitled to more. After all, I am a public employee and am paid to serve the taxpayers. When they were making larger salaries, teachers did not ask for large increases (my salary increase this year – without a pay freeze – was $800). Now that the economy is in the tank and private industry is feeling the burden and not making huge raises and bonuses, my salary and benefits are being called into question.

    I am also concerned by the tone and demeanor of the governor. As a teacher, I would never speak to a parent of a student or a member of the community in the manner the governor addresses this teacher. I am an employee of the town and am paid to serve the community in which I teach. Whether I disagree with someone’s opinion or not, I show respect for their ideas and contributions, unlike our governor.

    I am a proud teacher. I enjoy working with children and teach them every day to settle their differences respecting others and taking others’ feelings into consideration. Perhaps Gov. Christie and the higher ups in the NJEA should remember this in their debates.

  • “Whether I disagree with someone’s opinion or not, I show respect for their ideas and contributions, unlike our governor.”

    The Governor was responding to the childish antics of his teacher interlocutor.

  • When they were making larger salaries, teachers did not ask for large increases

    Cash wages for hourly employees have tended quite close to changes in prices for several decades now. Net improvements in living standards have been expressed in more generous medical benefits.

  • CT,

    You missed my point. I’m replying to those idiots who think teachers have some cushy job and don’t do “real work.” I know preparation is part of the job–I’m not saying teachers should be paid more; I’m saying teachers should be appreciated more. I’m saying that, when you put the amount of work, and the licensing requirements, etc., up against the job requirements, teachers get paid a very low salary compared to other college-educated professionals. Again, I really wish conservatives would get out of the Limbaugh-false-dichotomy mindset and stop assuming that anyone who is not an orthodox Republican must be an orthodox Democrat.

    I never said there was a “requirement” to get a Master’s–and you’re talking about long-time teachers.

    I’m talking about new teachers coming into the job market, who have to compete for base line teaching jobs, in our current economy, with people with graduate degrees. And I don’t know about NJ, but in VA and SC, teachers have to take so many graduate courses every few years in order to get their licences renewed, which gets me to . . .

  • Art Deco,

    Did you even read what I said or the contexts??

    When I talked about my wife’s evil former boss, I was talking not about salaries but about the money wasted on incompetent bureaucrats, who are hired solely for political reasons, and who get into administration because they were incompetent administrators . Having a father who taught high school for 30 years, and was a college administrator for 10 years after that, and a wife who’s a teacher, and being a college teacher myself, I know full well that most people at the upper echelons of education at the state level are where they are because
    a) they’re in the right political party
    and/or
    b) they’re related to the banks that give out all the student loans.

    These idiots soak up millions of dollars in money just to sit on their butts and make other people’s lives miserable. They have no useful purpose other than getting campaign dollars for politicians. If schools were operated on a subsidiarist model, and there were no higher level of education than the local school board, we would save billions in education budgets throughout the state.

    Everything you said about nurses, with the possible exception of supply and demand, applies to teachers. And again you totally miss my point:
    teachers make a lot less than people with college degrees are supposed to make, period.

    Students get June, July and maybe August off; not teachers. Teachers have 20-30 more work days a year than students are in school, so that envy of the anti-teacher crowd for “three months off” is nonsense.

    And, for the third time, my point is that those “months off” usually get taken up having to take graduate courses or conferences or continuing ed to keep up licensure, or else work a summer job to compensate, or both.

    My point is not “Oh, poor teachers who don’t make enough money!” My point is stop ragging on them like you’re a bunch of eighth graders.

    My point is to walk a mile in the other person’s shoes.

    My point is that, cutting or freezing salaries is one thing, but it is usually accompanied by *increases* in the work load. If teachers didn’t have to do all that after hours and summer stuff, then they’d be more free to work other jobs.

    Are

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