A Teacher’s Open Letter to NJ Governor Chris Christie

Dear Mr. Christie,

Before you were elected in 2009, you wrote an “Open Letter to the Teachers of New Jersey”, in which you promised you would be a “strong ally for teachers in the classroom.”

You concluded your letter by saying, “We may disagree on some issues, but I know we agree on what’s most important – delivering the best education we can for our kids.”

My, how your tune changed.

On Tuesday, June 25th, you accepted a “Citizen of the Year” award from the privately-funded Children’s Scholarship Fund of Philadelphia—and told parents that they “have to challenge a status quo that wants to maintain a system that serves their interests, often, ahead of the children’s interests.”

I’m sorry, to which “system” were you referring with this comment? Teachers? (The NJEA, which is made up of teachers?) The teachers who you said seek to deliver the best education they can to the children of New Jersey?

To me, this subtle, underhanded, yet very powerful attack on teachers and their union is the single most despicable, divisive, and damaging way in which you use your influence as governor. History has taught us that stereotypes are dangerous, that labeling is dangerous, and that lumping all people with a commonality (in this case, those who devote their lives to teaching our children) into one group is extraordinarily dangerous. Would you blindly claim that all lawyers are corrupt? That all politicians lie? I would hope not, because it is impossible to make such a claim and be correct.

I’d like to believe that you yourself understand the danger in attacking a group of people—especially one made up of people who dedicate their life’s work to the children of the state you govern; but the poison you spew is received by people who are inherently resentful of teachers and willing to attack them, and public education as an entity, without any grounds for their beliefs. In short, in an effort to promote your agenda, you are actively, purposefully, and aggressively promoting an unfounded stereotype that is damaging to children, to teachers, to communities, and to public education in general. Surely you understand the implication of your words—and to me, that is what makes your blanket statements even more shocking, abject, and detestable.

I am a proud teacher and a proud union member, and I can whole-heartedly and very honestly say that I have never seen evidence that my colleagues want to “maintain a system that serves their interests, often, ahead of the children’s interests.” Never. Not once. I work with caring, dedicated, and intelligent people, and I know our students’ lives are better because they are instructed by such individuals.

So I ask you: where is the evidence of your claim? To whom, specifically, and to what, specifically, are you referring when you claim that teachers put their own interests ahead of the interests of their children?

Even if you truly are committed to “delivering the best education we can for our kids,” your attacks on teachers and on public education are consistent and deliberate. I can assure you that what you are doing—particularly in promoting your “reform” agenda that seeks to turn our children into test-taking robots and advocating for the expansion of unproven charter schools and the use of taxpayer money for private institutions—will have a more divisive and damaging effect on children’s educations than you can possibly imagine or be expected to understand.

After all, you are not an educator. And short of your own privileged public school experience in one of the wealthiest districts in the state, you simply do not understand the dedication, love, passion, and work ethic that drive teachers to do their jobs—and do them exceptionally well. Further, you do not understand that to address the problems of public education, one must address the problems in society that can make it virtually impossible for some children to be successful in ANY school—even with the very best teachers.

Ignorant people who have no understanding of or respect for our educational system will always attack teachers, and that is sad. It is immeasurably sadder when someone with the power, education, and influence that you have takes advantage of such knowledge and falls to such a level of ignorance.

In 2009, you promised to be a “strong ally for teachers in the classroom” and to improve education for the students in New Jersey. Your subsequent words, though, are counterproductive to the goals you yourself set and damaging the climate educators work each day to create.

You still have time to support teachers in their tireless efforts to make our children better people—and in turn, make New Jersey an even better state.

If not, the climate you have created will continue to destroy the institution you claim you are trying to improve.

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61 Comments

Filed under Letters

61 responses to “A Teacher’s Open Letter to NJ Governor Chris Christie

  1. As a teacher from NJ myself, I wholeheartedly applaud this! You have written the words that all of us feel. I am proud to be a public school teacher in this state, and work hard every single day. I am sick of having my livelihood attacked by Gov. Christie, and never thought I would see the day that I have to actively defend my profession to others! I shared it on my FB page, and think many other teachers will too! Thank you for writing this!!!

    • RetiringTeacher

      Way to go! Governor Christie is a bully. His reputation among the public for being bipartisan and “authentic” belies this fact and is a carefully crafted persona. Please continue to write, as you speak for so many of us.

      • RE: “In 2009, you promised to be a “strong ally for teachers in the classroom” and to improve education for the students in New Jersey. “Your subsequent words, though, are counterproductive to the goals you yourself set and damaging the climate educators work each day to create.”
        The Liar and Bully from Mendham never clarified “which classroom”. However, after observing the draconian educational policies implemented during his administration’s first four years, it is obvious he meant teachers in CHARTER SCHOOL classrooms.
        Vote this empty suit and his acolytes out of office in November. Send a strong message to the greedy politicians down there in Trentonland. The Public Schools are not a cash cow for the vulture capitalists and their “bought and paid for” so-called “Representatives of the People”.

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  3. Reblogged this on The View From Here and commented:
    This amazing piece speaks for all of us who are proud to be teachers in NJ!!

  4. Roxanne

    This is interesting. I grew up in NJ, and now live in Atlanta. I’m a postdoc on a grant where I’m working on developing Engineering classes for 6-9 grades in Georgia, and also working on modeling the K-12 (public) education as a complex system. It has given me new appreciation for the amazing public education I had, the amazing teachers I had, and the federal policies that I was so lucky to not have to deal with. Not everyone is so lucky. When I read Christie’s quote, I thought of a much more global system that includes many more agents (e.g. DoE, community leaders, politics, testing companies, textbooks, federal policy, absentee parents, administration, socio-economic status etc. etc.) It would be in truly poor form to ever attack teachers as an entity, especially when there are so many outstanding ones. I actively work with some very talented educators, but in GA, the high school graduation rate is about 60%. Political groups oppose purchasing new textbooks labeled with ‘Common Core compatible’ (just because it’s ‘federally mandated’) and until recently, many science textbooks were labeled with ‘evolution is only a theory and should be carefully considered.’ The number of standardized tests is far greater than when I went to school and leaves very little flexibility for creative curricula. ‘The System’ often gets in the way of truly innovative teachers and administrators we partner with. So long story short, regardless of political view, it seems like Christie and the letter writer could be thinking of two vastly different systems.

  5. patricia alt

    Excellent letter!!

  6. Joe Valicenti

    Eloquent and incisive! If Christie could read anything other than his own propaganda, he might understand our plight.

  7. Nobodys Side

    One sided view. You are just as bad as Christie. Yes, the children are the #1 through #1MM reason/s here. Teachers also have an agenda, don’t kid yourselves. You want tenure, job guarantees/can’t be fired, etc. End of the day, you are a paid worker like everyone else in the US. While some of your benefits have been better (although Christie is changing some of those), you are in the public eye. Specifically since 60% of taxes go to education. So people without kids have an opinion because their money is paying your salary. So while you criticize the Governor, glass houses…

    End result….if ALL teachers were as passionate as you…and ALL were credible and didn’t abuse the system (and ready the papers…every week children are abused by teachers too) the general public wouldn’t be so critical.

    I feel I had a very good education with good teachers. So far my children the same…but that isn’t always the case and you should be aware of that.

    Lastly, you are complaining about the way you are treated while you are working. There are TONS of people out of work who would love you job. This economy also breeds jealousy and resentment. This is not the economy to be demanding more or asking not to be cut. Everyone must do their part to sustain…you are not exempt. Firefighters are cut too. Every company is cutting back on headcount, benefits, doing furloughs, etc….so you won’t get much sympathy from anyone.

    Some would say to keep quiet, keep doing a good job, and keep your head down and keep working..and be thankful! Just becuase you are good at your job doesn’t earn you any more than me being good at mine.

    • Thank you for your comment.

      I am well aware of the current economic conditions, the fact that people who are jobless (and there are MANY in NJ) would be thankful for any job, and that workers everywhere are experiencing difficulties. (If you notice, I mentioned no criticisms of Christie for his pension or healthcare reforms.)

      I am glad that you had a good experience in school, and more glad that your children are enjoying the same. I certainly realize that many children are not as lucky, and I am ALL FOR educational policy that corrects such problems. There absolutely ARE bad teachers, just as there are bad doctors, bad lawyers, bad politicians, bad police officers, etc.

      I am surely not seeking sympathy, as you suggest. What I am seeking is respect from a governor whose verbal attacks on teachers are counterproductive to the improvements he claims he is trying to make. I resent being stereotyped, and I assume you would, too.

      Your final sentence is particularly puzzling to me, because at no time did I suggest that my job earns me any more than anyone else who is good at his/her job. My letter is not about being owed money, benefits, or job security; it is about the damaging climate Chris Christie is creating by spewing his rhetoric to people who are just waiting to attack teachers. And I will say it again and with great confidence: the teachers I work with are wonderful people who put the interests of their students before their own.

      I hope that this makes sense, and I hope that in the future, you’ll reconsider your accusatory use of the plural “you” that you’ve used above–seemingly to promote the same kind of generalizations our governor makes.

      Thank you, again, for your comment. I wish your children continued academic success.

      • A+ teacher

        To Nobody’s Side,

        So if I am a law abiding citizen or if my house never catches on fire, should I be annoyed that my taxes go to paying police & fire salaries, too?
        Maybe everyone should just stop having children and we can close all of the schools…or maybe everyone with children should just put their children in private schools to give everyone a 60% tax break. See how ridiculous that sounds?!
        Yes, at the end of the day I am a paid worker, but as many people seem to forget, I am also a taxpayer. I contribute to my pension which the general public seems to think iis a free handout to teachers, police and fire. Politicians feel it is fine to “borrow” against our pensions and never pay it back?! That is not the definition of borrowing, I believe it’s stealing.
        After 14+ years, I am taking home $650 a week. I am not making $100,000 (contrary to popular belief). I have not even hit $60K yet.
        I chose my job and I’m not complaining. I love it and I’m good at what I do. I’m just tired of defending what I do; a job that most people cannot.
        Come election time, please pick a side.

      • Beth

        A+ teacher –

        I would love to be able to post your response in an email or on FB! You summarize exactly how I feel. In fact, upon reading your statement that you make $650 a week, I shook my head, thinking to myself, “That can’t be possible.” It is. I make $650 a week, too. When I realize the hours I work (including over the summer doing inservice or taking grad classes) compared to the amount I am compensated I am astounded.

    • sharon

      To nobody’s side….thank you, I’ve been on a pay freeze for years. Hours cut and making less money every year as I head into age 59.

      There are many good teachers and many bad teachers. I’ve been working in the same job for 28 years. Do I have tenure? No, I can go tomorrow.

      My beef is at the higher up’s who rape the system and make tons of money, some of who don’t even have schools in their district

    • jsb16

      Tenure is *not* a guaranteed job for life. Tenure is a guarantee that your boss will have to have a decent reason for firing you, rather than being able to fire you for, say, holding the principal’s son to the same classroom behavior expected of everyone else.

  8. Steve G

    As a teacher in WI, I feel your pain. Solidarity.

  9. debbie mcdonald

    What a great letter!! I am a retired teacher. I taught for 33 years….

  10. GabbyWeiss

    the long and short of it is this: get rid of the most highly paid, in other words, the most experienced teachers who excel in their subject and pass the love of learning on to their students. It’s all about the money. Nothing more and nothing less. BTW, the letter is lovely but way long. It’s not that complicated cause it’s all about the money. Harass the most highly paid until they can’t take it anymore and get the hell out. That’s the objective. And Mr. Christie is no political fool, he knows where his support comes from.

  11. Did anyone really expect a leopard to change his spots or in this case a bull elephant to stop his bellowing?http://teachersdontsuck.blogspot.com

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  13. Kami Collins

    Very well said! As an inner-city teacher, I feel the pressure of the changing climate with constant reforms. The children are not being served, it is all the corporations like Pearson that repackage and resell the miracle reforms over and over to the urban districts. All of my colleagues have chosen to help the neediest students and always spend hundreds of our own dollars each year for basic supplies but we keep coming back and working hard. It’s so soul shattering to hear someone put you down when you and everyone you work with works so very hard.

  14. Beth

    I love when people forget that teachers are tax payers too!!! We suffer from the same poor economy that everyone else suffers from. My taxes go up every year just as yours do. The food that I buy for my family gets more expensive every year too! Teachers are being laid off every year in droves like many other Americans and it’s almost impossible for new teachers out of college to find teaching jobs. Just because you pay taxes doesn’t mean you own us. Heck, if you want to look at it that way, I must be self employed because my taxes pay my salary right? The public and the Governor need to stop taking their frustration out on teachers. The teaching profession is one of the most important professions in the world. We hold the future in our hands. Start respecting the profession and be a part of the solution – not the problem.

  15. vic

    I’m shocked you still believe in the Christie rhetoric! He has lost 1/2 a billion $$$ in federal aid because his ego wouldn’t let the NJEA help on applications. He has villified Police and Firemen, teachers and all state workers. Yet thise same state workers police and firemen became the heroes after Sandy! Our public school system was #2 in the country before Christie took office..now I believe we are at 8 or 9. He neglects to tell the public all the money that was stolen from workers pension funds and needs to be replaced are why our benefits are breaking the budget. 5000 fewer cops on the streets since he took office and crime up double digits….oh yeah have your taxes gone down? If they did then your already rich because only th he rich have had their taxes go down. Are you unemployed? What about killing the tunnel project…it would have employed 50-60, 000 people long term….I coulf go on and on. You obviously like Christie, so give it a shot as nd list 1 accomplishment. A real one…if there is one

  16. JohnQ.

    I just don’t get it …… Job security, time off, healthcare, retired at 57 and then live to 80+. It just can’t happen anymore. The system is taxed. The time’s have changed, and we can’t afford it anymore.

    • jsb16

      The system is taxed because governors, starting with Christie Whitman and continuing through Chris Christie, have happily taken teachers’ tax money but contributed zero of the money the state promised as deferred compensation. How happy would you be if you accepted employment with the understanding that your boss would be putting money into your 401k and then your boss *both* didn’t make his contributions *and* blamed you for stealing money from the company?

    • I work all weekend long–reading, writing, grading papers and doing paperwork (lesson planning, etc.) I cannot spend the weekend with friends or family, or I cannot do my job effectively during the school week. I study, take test and train during the summer. Be clear– I am not complaining. I do my job willingly. I am simply stating what my job is like for me. I cannot speak for all teachers. But people are mistaken if they think I have more time off than others. And I cannot retire until I am 67. John Q is stereotyping teachers. No job security–layoffs are in every district. A few years ago when the bad economy hit I said that it is ironic how, my whole life, the general public said that teachers made lousy pay and had hard jobs, and the second the economy dipped that same job was easy and overpaid. The job didn’t change, the economy did, and attitudes changed. Most teachers are more upset over constant legislation changes than declining pay.

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  18. Public School Teacher

    John Q., we can actually. If you read academic research literature, you will find that there is plenty of money in public school districts (more than ever before in most cases), but it is being spent on resources guaranteed to boost test scores on meaningless multiple choice tests, while the quality of the education the children receive is in a free fall. The best teachers are fleeing the workforce or transferring to private institutions where they voluntarily take a pay cut to escape the bureaucracy. My husband works in the private sector. He receives more paid time off, better healthcare benefits, and MUCH better retirement benefits than I do as a public school teachers in one of the wealthiest districts in the country. He also makes twice as much money as I do with fewer years experience. People are very quick to vilify tenure. What you fail to understand is that tenure has traditionally been the trade-off for low salaries and so much unpaid time out of work. Most teachers I know would LOVE to switch to a private-style system where they work 12 months a year, are paid according to the market value of their skills, and have an annual performance review that dictates their job status for the following year. What you – and people like you – want is to have your cake and eat it too. You want teachers to accept low wages, no job security, work 12 months a year for 10 months pay, and still deliver quality instruction. Another poster above compared our positions to police officers and firefighters. That is a logical fallacy because those public servants do not require advanced degrees. Teaching is the only profession that comes to my mind where people are required to earn expensive advanced degrees and then paid like public servants with an AA. You can bellyache all you want about the economy. It has nothing to do with it. Teachers in my district are not asking for better benefits or more money. We have stomached a 5% across the board pay cut without walking off the job. We have tolerated having our pay frozen for the five years before that. Some of us have lost more money in forfeited step increases than you could imagine. Our retirement benefits have been slashes, healthcare costs increased, and compensation for tuition eliminated. The amount of money I take home is about 10% less than it was five years ago, yet I continue to go to work each and every day. I turned down a job offer recently to make six figures because I am not ready to quit the classroom. The public absolutely cannot afford me, yet I work for what they can offer. All I ask in exchange is for a little dignity and a little respect. I ask that a highly paid, highly respected politician not slander me in public to score cheap political points. I further ask that he stop trying to “fix” public schools, when the only thing that was ever wrong with them is we service children from impoverished families. No politician on either side of the aisle wants to admit that to genuinely improve the quality of education in poor school districts, they will have to radically change our domestic policies to increase the economic standing of the poorest quarter of our population. It’s so much easier to hand the public a whipping boy in the form of teachers as a collective and continue pillaging our children’s futures to line the pockets of corporate interests.

  19. tippet523

    I am amazed at how folks say teachers are not paid well. Move to Illinois. here is a gym teacher making 141,000. his pension will be 75% with a 3 % COLA every year. Not bad http://illinois-teachers.findthedata.org/l/76527/Peter-J-Drevline

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  21. concerned parent

    ♥ chris!

  22. Anthony

    You teachers make me sick. The pay scale for 10 months of work is outrageous. I know for a fact, having just graduated college, that many kids are looking for teaching jobs because they are “easy” and they “get summers off”. Get out of here with the “we do it for the kids” nonsense. If that were really the case you wouldn’t be fighting with the governor over your bloated salaries. The teachers union is evil and does the same that that every union does. It raises the price of labor and decreases the quality of the work performed. Why do teachers think they are entitled to have the tax payers pay 100% of their benefits? Not to mention, how can you argue in favor of yourselves when the quality of the education that these kids get is crap. They learn literally nothing about financial education other than how to become a government mule or to “climb the corporate ladder”. In the teachers’ defense, that is more the fault of the system than the teachers but the fact remains that we don’t foster creative entrepreneurs. Rather we churn out obedient workers. This whole issue makes me sick, and the people demanding more money while trying to say they do it for the kids make me sick. If the teachers were treated like the would be in the private sector, we’d have real results and quality education.

    • Oh, look: a recent college grad who presumes to know all about educational policy, teachers’ motivations for entering the profession, and how much teachers make and to what degree they contribute to their benefits! Where do I start?!

      1) “You teachers.” Awesome way to begin–and immediately prove that you’re no better than anyone who lumps all people with a commonality into one group. You’ve illustrated the point I prove in this letter in your very first sentence! What you’ve done here is no better than saying, “you blacks” or “you Jews” or “you rich white kids.” Way to establish credibility right off the bat!
      2) The notion that you’re an expert who understands why teachers choose the profession because you know some “kids” who, without any teaching experience, think the job is “easy” and wants to pursue it for “summers off.” (Really, this does make you an expert!) Newsflash: yes, some people choose the profession for this reason–and they’re typically gone within 3 years. On the flip-side: dedicated, talented, and effective teachers leave the profession in favor of jobs that require them to work year-round because of people like you who make it very hard for teachers to do their jobs.
      3) There is not one reference in this letter to salary or benefits, yet you–with your canned and predictable remarks–somehow interpreted the idea of harmful stereotyping to mean salary and benefits. Again, thank you for unknowingly proving my point for me. (And by the way–I have always contributed to my benefits AND pension, so again, your claims are ridiculous and show your ignorance.)
      4) It is completely illogical to claim that it is impossible for teachers to love their jobs and their students–and at the same time seek compensation that’s in their best interest and the interests of their families. Let me guess–you’ve got some sort of degree in finance/business? Funny that those who seek corporate involvement in education (and promote the idea that schools should be run like businesses) are those who are primarily driven by MAKING MONEY and who favor privatization of schools so companies like Pearson and the Gates and Broad foundations can make millions beyond their millions–yet they criticize teachers as being greedy. Illogical and ignorant.
      5) “The teachers union is evil and does the same that that every union does.” Evil? Another check for your credibility. (Maybe you’re still in the superhero phase, so I’ll let this one go.)

      Before I wrap up, let me ask you a question:

      To whom do you attribute your own academic success (assuming you’d claim that you’re academically successful)? To teachers?

      Think very carefully about your answer, because if you say you were successful DESPITE your teachers, you’re acknowledging that student success depends more on factors beyond teachers’ control (home life, student motivation and desire to learn, etc.) than it does on the job teachers do in the classroom. If that’s the case, the “crap” education you describe is the fault of the students themselves– and not teachers. If only everyone could be as motivated as I imagine you are!

      But if for some reason you attribute your success to teachers, your ignorant rant above is null and void.

      Thanks for your input!!!

      • Anthony

        Ok, yes I’m making generalizations in an attempt not to write a novel (like you have). How does me being a recent college grad (two years ago) have anything to do with my ability to understand educational policy, how much teachers make and to what degree the contribute to their benefits? It has nothing to do with it. lol
        1. your point number one is a rant really so I won’t address that.
        2. Why do I have to be an expert to have an opinion on the issue? I would argue that my objective opinion (I have zero ties to working in education) is more valuable that a subjective teacher’s opinion. What is even your point here?…that I’m not a teacher so I can’t chime in? lol
        3. This isn’t about money? No, the author didn’t specifically say the word money, but what is this fight really all about? It’s always about money (so much so that you even felt the need to defend yourself by citing your own contributions).
        4. I didn’t say it was impossible to both love your students and your paycheck. I’m just sick of these teachers arguing against Christie in the name of the kids. Why can’t you just come out and admit that the teachers’ union has its own agenda…to get as much as it can from the tax payers to give to its members. The teachers can cry and moan about how hard they work but guess what…we’ve all seen the product you produce (the graduates), and that’s hardly something to write home about.
        5. And yea, learn a thing or two about what a free market is. Unions are bad and harmful to an economy, always. Then again, you’re spewing the government’s mind numbing material out to your students so you probably think labor unions were our savior or something.

        You ask who do I attribute my academic success to? Who cares. Academic success gets you nothing in life. Life doesn’t care if you got an A in biology. Success is measured by how much value you bring to the marketplace. The more value you bring, the more success you achieve. Your ability to create goods and services that are in demand are what drives an economy (not getting good grades and going to work for the government). I attribute my success to Robert Kiyosaki. Go read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and maybe you will learn something.

    • ICallShenanigans

      Ha! Go worship your free-market gods somewhere else, youngster. Anytime someone brings up “free markets” in regards to education, that is a sure sign they know precisely dick about public ed. Now back to “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” with you.

    • Have you ever been a teacher, Anthony? If not, I suggest you keep silent on the issue, because your ignorance is just embarrassing yourself.

      • Anthony

        Ok, so because I’m not a teacher I’m not allowed to have an opinion on the issue? The only people embarrassing themselves are the ones who think that our current system is benefiting the kids and society.

    • Please do not blame the teachers for the lack of creative spirit. We are told what to teach and when to teach it. The ” No Child Left Behind” program has done more to discourage the creative and inventive spirit of children than any other educational reform movement in history. If you think that teaching is so easy lets trade places for a week. The problem with many people in our country we tend to fall back on talking points and political ideology. Hell it is easy to attack the teacher rather than accept the fact that educating the public is an expensive proposition. One of the most expensive part of the educational system is the profits and the contracts to private industry for mandatory testing. Why do we have to test every child. A random sample would do the same thing and be considerably less expensive. We should attack waste and corruption before demoralize and discouraging our dedicated public servants. For many years there were mandates to increase teacher pay and compensation to attract more qualified candidates to the teaching profession and now we are told that we are payed to much. I am 57 years old and have noticed a pattern of behavior toward teachers. Every time there is a recession the Republicans on the state level attack Education!!!!!

  23. All this from a person who says, “academic success gets you nothing in life.” By that standard, what motivation does anyone have to invest in our country’s educational system? “Lol.”

    Oh, and there’s a difference in making a generalization for the purposes of summary and a generalization about a group of people–which has nothing to do with the length of your argument. Nice try, though.

    1) Perfect–don’t.
    2) As I said before, your opinion projects your ignorance, and the “evidence” you cite about your frat-brother “kids” is pathetic–and doesn’t support the point you’re attempting to make. And if you call your opinion “objective,” you need a lesson in objectivity. “Lol.”
    3) No, this IS NOT about money. AT ALL. Read it again if your reading skills are so poor that you don’t understand that. It’s about the hostile climate people (like the governor–and you) create when they make generalizations that are detrimental to the culture in which kids are educated every day, and it’s about ways in which this type of jargon drives the educational reform movement that’s continuing to weaken our schools. Maybe one day when you have kids and tell them their teachers are greedy, uncaring components of a failing system–to which you will then send them–you’ll understand these implications. Or maybe you’ll wonder why your kids struggle with respecting authority, intellect, and academics (which obviously get you “nothing in life”). “Lol.”
    4) Of course the union has an agenda: so does everyone. But I can assure you the union’s agenda isn’t the one you identify. It’s so childish, ignorant, and ridiculous to suggest, as you do, that the union is advocating for teachers who don’t have the best interest of children at heart. You mean to tell me that the 100,000+ teachers in the state chose their jobs because they don’t care about kids and are driven by money? “Lol.”
    5) “spewing the government’s mind numbing material” to students? “Lol.” (And thank you, I’m familiar with the free-market agenda you’re pushing here. Very Ayn Randian. Kudos.)

    If you see no connection between academic success and “how much value you bring to the workplace,” you have no regard for learning, intellect, or the ways in which true study influences one’s ability to be a productive citizen and worker in whichever endeavor he undertakes. “Lol.”

    • Anthony

      If you are going to resort to your diction, grammar, and obsessive need to mock the widely accepted use of “lol” it says a lot about your argument. We shouldn’t be investing in our countries educational system. We should be looking for a new one. Perhaps moving it to the free market…seems to work for everything else.
      2. The fact that I have first hand experience in witnessing kids want teaching jobs for the cushy benefits rather than for the joy of teaching does project ignorance…on your part…in that you choose not to acknowledge that this is happening in our colleges. In a free market the supply of teachers would reduce demand and thus the wages paid…such that there would be thousands of kids without teaching jobs.
      3. The hostile climate? That was created when? When Christie stood up to the teachers union over all issues relating to money. I never said my kids would have teachers who are all uncaring, but yes, certainly their union is greedy and it is all certainly part a failed system. I could teach kids more about life in a one day seminar that this school system does in K-12. When’s the last time kids learned how to balance check books, learned about interest rates, the Federal Reserve, finance…and all the other things in life that are actually relevant. (Yes some schools teach little bits of these topics here and there but it is certainly not the majority and certainly not in a sufficient manner). Let’s just shove more chemistry in their heads…yea that will work.
      4. Again, I’m not saying that the teachers do not care about the kids. I am saying that the union doesn’t. I mean absent of touching a kid…a tenured teacher can basically get away with murder and not get canned. Does that have the student’s best interests in mind? Even if the teacher means well and they are just plain incompetent they will have a job for life…meanwhile I have friends who are bright young people ready to work hard as teachers yet they can’t get a job. Does that have the students’ best interests in mind? Absolutely not.
      5. You’re right my agenda happens to be the same one as outlined in the Declaration of Independence. Remember that guy Thomas Jefferson? Ya know, that whole thing about personal freedoms and liberty? Labor unions play not part in that.

      A nice quote I heard…’A’ students work for ‘C’ students, and ‘B’ students work for the government.

      Couldn’t be more true.

      • Good plans! I said, in my first response, that YES–there are college kids who have misconceptions about what being a teacher involves. (That was right before I said that those people generally last no more than three years.) You’re only two years out of college, but I imagine that you still understand that hostility between people like you and teachers/other public workers has existed for decades. Don’t even start on tenure; unions ensure due process. You admittedly have no ties to education, so I seriously doubt you’ve studied statistics long enough to understand what you’re talking about. Wait, you have bright young friends who want to be teachers? Quick…talk them out of it. Teachers make you sick–and you don’t want your friends to make you sick. Finally, I subscribe to the philosophy–outlined by John Adams–that “the whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.” But what did he know? Clearly, not as much as you do. Good talk, Anthony.

      • A+ teacher

        Anthony,

        It is precisely because of people who share your ignorance that we have the stereotypes and lack of respect for teachers in today’s society.
        It is exactly because of those friends of yours that become teachers “for summers off” that we have ineffective teachers; making it look bad for all of us because society would rather generalize us into one category instead of admitting that the majority of teachers are actually doing their jobs and genuinely care about the children.
        I pray my children don’t have any of your “teacher friends” during their academic career.

  24. Anthony

    There you go again citing my age as if that has anything to do with anything. As if I’m not able to comment on anything that happened pre-2011…yada yada yada same arguments here…no, unions don’t ensure due process they ensure higher prices and lower quality…you’re right I was my teacher friends weren’t teachers…

    Thanks for the chat.

    P.S. Your blog seems very popular you should consider a proper domain name and self hosted version of wordpress.

  25. Robin Karas

    Anthony, you are an idiot. After 43 years of teaching I have seen people like you and your friends come into teaching thinking it only requires opening a book. They do not last very long. Children figure them out very quickly. They know who is there for them and who is there for a paycheck and the results are not pretty. Teaching requires a love of children and a desire to see them succeed. Taking a job just to have the summer off means you have neither quality. I would not want my child to have that kind of teacher. Please keep your friends and yourself out of education until you have an education about what the real world is about. Its obvious you are no where near that stage yet.

    • Sally Leone

      Amazing letter!

    • Anthony

      I can promise you you’ve never seen people like me go into teaching. People like me are too concerned with producing the goods and services that you consume, as well as doing our part to grow the economy. I literally had a friend just the other day quit looking for a teaching job because he realizes that he needs to know someone “on the inside” to even get a sniff at a job. Does a situation like that ensure that the teachers who love the kids get the jobs? No, it ensures that the teachers who “know someone” get a job.

      • Robin Karas

        Anthony, no one said the education world is perfect. Unfortunately its people like you who have spoiled it. Instead of increasing the number of teachers so that children have adequate attention the number is decreased because people don’t want their taxes to rise making it very difficult to get a teaching job. If you were really interested in growing the country you would be complaining about the the amount of money that is taken out of educational budgets every year. Just remember, you get what you pay for.

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