And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Private School Choice Bill wins against New Jersey Teachers Union Protest

Posted on: May 19, 2010

» New Jersey Teachers Union Forced to Take Back Seat to Kids – Big Government

It seems that conservatism is winning the battle for our children’s education also.  First Rhode Island takes on teachers union and takes teachers down,  now New Jersey “S1872, legislation that would establish a five-year scholarship tax credit pilot program for students in failing schools,” was passed in committee and now will go to the legislature.  And the Texas Text Book  Selection committee is surely going conservative and bring back or putting in our history according to how it happened.  The group that advised what to put in or take out of the social studies texts books wanted removed all mention of: Christmas,  Glen Armstrong, Columbus,  George Washington  and several other major players in American history.   Christianity was given only one page in the old text while Islam was given 3 pages.  The committee is having final hearings from speakers today  on the text book content and I will let you know what the final outcome is. (Note: Texas text books are important because they basically set the standard for all text as Texas is the greatest purchaser of text books.)

All in all I am overjoyed by this tiny beginning of what I hope is a turning back to education basics and not multi-cultural brain washing.  BB

Approximately 1,500 New Jersey schoolchildren and school choice supporters witnessed democracy in action on Thursday, May 13, when they attended a rally at the state capitol to support a private school choice bill under debate in the state Senate.  The rally was set to support S1872, legislation that would establish a five-year scholarship tax credit pilot program for students in failing schools, which was heard by the Senate Economic Growth Committee that day.

If enacted, the pilot program could fund up to $24 million in scholarships for up to 4,000 children the first year. After five years, up to 20,000 children would receive $120 million in scholarships. Scholarship funds would come from corporate contributions, for which the corporations would receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit.  The full Senate must approve the measure before it advances to the state Assembly.

When State Senator Ray Lesniak (D-Union), chairman of the committee and longtime supporter of school choice, prepared to call the committee to order, he noted that all of the seats had been taken by New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) members.

The chairman requested that half of the seats be made available for the children who supported the school choice bill.  The union members refused to offer the children any seats.  So, the senators’ desks were moved, and Chairman Lesniak took the committee hearing outside:

“The NJEA and their supporters packed the room.  I asked them to allow for fifty percent of supporters of the legislation in the room or else I was going to have them take the meeting outside so that everybody can see it.  They refused to leave the room, so we’re going to have the committee meeting right here.  Outside.”

Meanwhile, the NJEA refuses to accept any responsibility for the looming budget gaps at both the state and district levels.  Only 30 school districts have accepted any form of a pay freeze for employees, and as the Star-Ledger Editorial Board recently used the situation in Fairfield, New Jersey, to illustrate the statewide mess:

“A pay freeze in Fairfield would comprise 77 percent of the needed $140,000 in cuts. But teachers there, and throughout the state, have thumbed their noses at taxpayers — the same taxpayers who have made teachers among the highest-paid in the nation, with an average salary of $63,154, a pension and, until recently, free health care benefits. So taxes will go up, programs will be eliminated and teachers will lose jobs. Hamilton will fire 75 teachers, and the union won’t even allow its membership to vote on a pay freeze that would save many of those jobs.”

The rest of New Jersey legislators should take note.  The NJEA does not want to be a part of the solution.  They are the core of the problem.


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