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Realities of NJ education system April 12, 2010

Posted by Ken in Education.

The following post was written in response to a website posting regarding changes being considered in Florida regarding tenure and compensation reform. Here is a copy of my response:

I live in central NJ, USA.

Once upon a time, a couple decades ago, teachers were poorly paid, but they had benefits that (in some way) compensated them (free medical, pension) and protected them (tenure, which in my state of New Jersey, is “awarded” after three years and a day at a district). Well, over time, salaries increased to what I would call “market rates” – it is not unusual for a teacher today with a masters degree and 5-10 years on the job to make close to $70K, and the pay scale heads towards $100K/year for those teachers with PhDs and 20 years experience. I don’t begrudge them thier salary, but their benefits have remained from the 1970’s – making teachers very expensive. An enetry-level teacher in my local district starts at $46K/year, has a medical benefits package worth $13-15K/year, and thanks to tenure after 3 years and a day have (essentially) job security for the rest of their life, with the promise of a pension when they retire that adjusts, tracking cost-of-living adjustments until they pass, when they get the proceeds of a half million dollar life insurance policy they never paid towards.

That is unlike any compensation package I am aware of in private industry, and the taxpayers who are taking pay freezes, suffering job losses, and struggling to make house payments have taken note and resent footing the bill for such a compensation package. My neighbors and I pay over 99% of the cost of our local school system, and as we watch our favorite programs get cut to try and close budget cuts, the obstinate teachers refuse to even publicly consider “suffering” a pay freeze to simply keep all their fellow union brothers and sisters “on the job.” By insisting that they are immune (or above) the financial reality the taxpayers face will cost them dearly as they go forward.

Website: Education Tech News



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