Ridgewood NJ, The state Department of Education recently released its annual Taxpayer’s Guide to Education Spending for 2018, which shows the median salary in every New Jersey school district and charter school.
Trenton NJ, Senate President Sweeney and Senator Ruiz Joint Statement on NJ Department of Education Announcement to Reduce PARCC Evaluation Weights
“As we approach the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year, we are deeply disappointed that the administration is walking away from New Jersey’s students by reducing the PARCC assessment to count for only five percent of a teacher’s evaluation. These tests are about education, not politics.
Anyone teaching in the Ridgewood School System should be thankful that they are earning above average salaries in addition to the benefits and pension all NJ teachers receive. The whining is getting old. If you don’t like the arrangement, find another job. Teaching is a very difficult job and I could not be a teacher. I don’t begrudge them their packages but the constant complaining is tiring. As the above poster said, “You just had the summer off.” You should be refreshed. Try having 2 or 3 weeks off a year as your only respite from the daily grind!
file photo by Boyd Loving at Ridgewood Train Station
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Union NJ , pay back time ,as schools around New Jersey prepare to open for the new year, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez was surrounded today by dozens of teachers and educational support professionals to proudly accept the endorsement of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), the state’s largest teachers union. The announcement was made at Jefferson Elementary in the Vauxhall section of Union.
NJEA released the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, in which the court overturned more than four decades of established law in order to tilt the balance of power in workplaces even further toward employers:
“This morning’s blatantly anti-worker, anti-middle class ruling by the Supreme Court demonstrates what unions have always known: we must always fight for the rights of working people in America and never take any of those rights for granted,” said NJEA President Marie Blistan. “The court’s attempt today to stifle labor’s collective voice will fail, because we refuse to be silenced. They can change the law, but they cannot do anything about our determination to organize, to advocate and to fight for our fellow members and all working people.”
“The wealthy and powerful have always wanted to weaken unions, because we, the people who make up unions, refuse to be intimidated by them,” declared NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller. “But unions have never needed the permission of courts or legislators to do what we’ve joined together to do. Our mission has always included challenging the status quo and disrupting the structures built to hold back working people. That work doesn’t depend on the Supreme Court’s permission and it will not be stopped by this misguided ruling.”
“NJEA members know the value of our union, because we see the power of collective action at work every day,” added NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty. “We bargain contracts, we advocate for students and public schools, and we work to build a fairer, stronger and more just society for everyone. Separately, we could not win those fights. Together, we cannot be stopped.”
The anti-union effort that led to the Janus case has been bankrolled by the National Right to Work Foundation, part of a network funded by corporate billionaires whose goal is to use the courts to rig the rules against working people. It is a multiyear, multimillion dollar effort to manipulate the system for their benefit, at the expense of the middle class. For decades, they have used the vast resources at their disposal to chip away at the progress unions have made for working families. Their goal is to weaken unions in order to muffle the voices of middle class families.
While the full legal ramifications of the ruling must still be examined, NJEA will continue to fight for all members’ professional and economic interests, and advocate for students, families and public education.
NJEA was founded in 1853 and today represents over 200,000 active and retired school employees in New Jersey, as well as students preparing for careers in education.
Washington DC, Yesterday was a major victory for free speech, according to AFP ,”Today is a game-changer for New Jersey and the trajectory of the country,” Americans for Prosperity [Foundation]’s Garden State director, Erica Jedynak said yesterday in a statement. “A victory for worker freedom, public employees will no longer be forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment or fund political speech against their will.”
Jim Arakelian , “So the Supreme Court ruled today that labor unions can no longer “require” members to pay dues. I wonder how far this will go. Will other professional associations also have to follow suit? Stand by on this. One thing is for sure. The State’s PBA and NJEA will lose a significant amount of political clout with this as PAC’s will now be completely voluntary and teachers, cops, and fireman, will be free to truly exercise their right to support the candidates of their choice as opposed to their unions favorite “prom date”.
Public employees can learn about their newfound rights by visiting: http://bit.ly/2yPMLNc or calling (833) 33-MYPAY, which is a LIVE Call Center.
Trenton NJ, Assembly sponsors of Right to Work legislation praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today that government workers cannot be required to pay union fees as a condition of working in public service.
“This decision restores free speech and freedom of association to every public school teacher and government worker across New Jersey,” said Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-Monmouth). “For far too long, unions have propped themselves up with money skimmed out of paychecks despite the workers’ objections.”
Handlin’s legislation (A183) would make New Jersey the twenty-ninth Right to Work state by allowing workers to decide whether to join a union. Assemblyman Robert Auth also sponsors the legislation.
After the top court’s decision, New Jersey’s 475,000 state and local public workers could opt out of their unions – taking money and political clout with them.
“This is a victory for rank-and-file teachers,” said Auth (R-Bergen). “Big unions have concentrated on procuring power and excessively paying its leadership while neglecting teachers in the classrooms. The NJEA’s executive director was paid $1.2 million thanks to dues as high as eleven-hundred dollars imposed on full-time teachers.”
Auth pointed to a Star-Ledger investigation that found the NJEA gave its top leadership a 42 percent pay raise in 2016. On average, the fourteen officers identified as NJEA leaders earned more than $530,000 — up from $379,000 the year before.
New Jersey is one of just 22 states where public employees can be forced to join and pay dues to a public union.
Chatham NJ, If it were not for these two moms, Nancy Gayer and Libby Hilsenrath, the Islamic propaganda videos would still be rolling inside the Chatham Middle School.
A federal judge has refused to toss out a lawsuit brought by a parent against the Chatham, New Jersey, school district, which showed seventh-graders a pro-Muslim video that included an invitation to convert to the “true faith.”
In denying the school district’s motion to dismiss the case, U.S. District Court Judge Kevin McNulty said the motion was worth only “minimal discussion.”
Kate Oliveri, an attorney with Thomas More Law Center, is representing Libby Hilsenrath, whose 12-year-old son attends Chatham Middle School. Oliveri said the decision to let the lawsuit proceed came as no surprise.
“The motion to dismiss was a further attempt by the school district to bully and silence Mrs. Hilsenrath,” she said. “The school district ignored the legal standard and ignored the facts, attempting instead to fool the judge with a poor attempt at sophistry.”
The lawsuit claims that seventh-grade students at the Chatham Middle School were forced to watch a set of videos in their World Cultures and Geography class that sought to convert them to Islam. Here is a sampling of what the students learned by watching just one of the 5-minute videos:
God gave Muhammed the noble Quran
The Quran is a Perfect guide for Humanity
The Quran is divine revelation
Islam is a shining beacon against the darkness of repression, segregation, intolerance and racism
The Beautiful Quran is Guidance for the wise & sensible.
Then came the topper. The video ends with this: “May God help us all to find the true faith, Islam.”
A musical version of an Arabic poem plays in the background throughout the video. The lyrics describe Christians and Jews as infidels and praises Muhammed for slaughtering them: . . . “their white shining swords red with the blood of infidels
. . . until they looked like meat on the butcher’s block.”
When Libby Hilsenrath first brought her concerns to the school board’s attention, on Feb. 6, 2017, they were dismissed out of hand.
And, when she and fellow parent Nancy Gayer appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Show a week later to express her concerns to the nation, she was roundly condemned by the school community. [See interview with Tucker Carlson below]
Because of Hilsenrath’s attempts to persuade school officials to remove the videos and stop the Islamic indoctrination of her son and the other seventh-grade students, she has been subjected to a barrage of vicious personal attacks on social media and in public venues across her community.
Oliveri said the Chatham Board of Education and certain school-district teachers are “waging a war” against the religious protections afforded by the First Amendment.
“They attack religious liberty by enticing young school children with a direct call to convert to Islam and providing a step-by-step guide on how to effect that conversion,” Oliveri said. And then when two parents complained, the school district embarked on a concerted effort to smear their character.
TMLC attorney Kate Oliveri
If anything remotely this aggressively Christian were presented to public-school children in any corner of the United States, the ACLU would be ready to pounce with a lawsuit. But the ACLU is curiously silent in the New Jersey case.
Thank God for the Thomas More Law Center, said James Komaniecki, president of RestoreAmericanLiberty.com.
“Thank Almighty God that TMLC is taking these people to the mat on this,” said Komaniecki. “If we don’t stand up to radical Islam in our own nation, we will be undermined from within until nothing remains of our own culture and Christian faith.”
The federal lawsuit was filed Jan. 23 in the New Jersey District Court against several officials and teachers of the Chatham Middle School and the school district.
Richard Thompson, president of TMLC, said the absurdities introduced to students at Chatham Middle School are the same ones being introduced to students at schools across the U.S.
“Witless school officials have converted classrooms across America into Islamic indoctrination centers,” he said. “These schools do not educate, they propagandize. Under the guise of teaching social studies courses, teachers promote the religion of Islam in ways that would never be legally allowable for Christianity or any other religion.
“Because the explicitly stated goal of Muslim leaders and organizations is to dominate America by a ‘civilization jihad,’ these schools collude with them to jeopardize our national security.”
The Thomas More Law Center is a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
“To protect our children and our nation from the insidious Islamic propagandizing going on in our public schools, courageous parents like Libby Hilsenrath must take the time to know exactly what their children are being taught,” Thompson said. “And if it’s Islamic propaganda, take action to stop it.
Christian Barranco, of Pompton Lakes, is a union electrician and the Labor Liaison to the New Jersey Organization for Economic Growth, a Wayne-based political action group supporting economic growth.
Trenton NJ, Democrats in the New Jersey Legislature recently introduced and moved through committee a bill to end the abusive practice that allows public-sector workers to bank unused sick days. The bill is bitterly opposed by public-sector unions. But we think the fight is worth it. If legislators show an uncommon amount of courage, New Jersey taxpayers can rid themselves of this absurd fiscal burden and bring public-sector workers in line with everyday working people.
As a union member, I can say with authority that no worker in the private-sector trades in New Jersey gets to bank unused sick days and vacation days and walk away at retirement with a five- or six-figure lottery check. Most private-sector trade unionists don’t even get sick days or vacation days at all. In our professions, if you don’t go to work you don’t get paid, period. And most private sector workers must either use their sick days and vacation days or they lose them; they’re not a supplement retirement fund and should never have been allowed to be used as one by the public sector. But decades of limp leadership in Trenton from both Democrats and Republicans allowed the practice to get to absurd heights — or from the taxpayer’s standpoint — ridiculous lows, forcing some towns to even borrow money to pay off retiring employee: ABSURD!
According to one report in NJ Spotlight, Jersey City public workers had amassed $116 million in banked days last year — and when the former police chief retired, he was due $512,000 in unused day. Newark owes its public workers $52.5 million. The County of Passaic, according to one filing, owes approximately $76 million in unused sick and vacation days to its employees.
Think of the things that could be done with that money, starting with property tax relief. Roads and bridges could be rebuilt, or parks upgraded for all of us to enjoy if we had a conscientious and responsible government.
Teacher union leaders are aghast
The teachers union leaders — who mistakenly believe that they are part of the larger labor movement — are aghast that the Democrats would betray them and take away their cherished perk. It is arrogance that makes them feel that way. It’s long past time when the system was corrected to protect private-sector workers who pay the indefensible perks granted to public-sector employees.
The teachers complain that the perks are necessary to make up for a lack of raises. Nonsense. If public employees in general think they are so underpaid that they need to game the system to get compensated for unused sick and vacation days, they can always jump to the private sector and see how the rest of us live.
Under the proposed legislation, every public employee would be able to keep whatever amounts they have earned up to the effective date of the law. Those who had already saved at least $7,500 would earn no more. Those who have not, and new hires, would be able to bank up to $7,500 in sick time, but most would not be paid for it. Instead, individuals could use the value of their accumulated sick time to pay for either health insurance premiums or co-pays over the first five years after retirement. Only veterans could receive a cash payment for future unused days.
The legislation is not ideal, but it is far better than anything Republicans have come up with and far more courageous than Democrats ever dared to be — until now.
We know the proposal is in part a retaliation against the notorious NJEA teachers union for funding a campaign against Sen. Steve Sweeney last fall. Regardless of the motivation, the objective is a worthy one. If the NJEA is going to be corrected for its abuses of influence, and it helps the average taxpayer, that’s great news. Motivations for the legislation are not the issue, the results are. If homeowners and small business owners are no longer forced to fund expensive going-away presents for retiring public employees, that’s a good thing.
It will be interesting to see which lawmakers cave in to the NJEA pressure. Look for the weak-willed lawmakers who are in office only to keep collecting a paycheck to either appease the public-sector union bosses or sneak into a corner and hide. Those that do, should be held accountable next year when the state Assembly members will face re-election. Let’s keep an eye on who votes for the taxpayers and who caves into the abusive deals with the NJEA.