The real agenda behind Christie’s extended school day and school year proposal

Just one day after he vetoed a bill that would create a task force to study the implications of mandating full-day kindergarten across the state, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is facing intense criticism for the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal and a federal investigation into his use of Hurricane Sandy relief funds, used his State of the State address to convey a message he’s been promoting for years: that New Jersey’s public school system is failing and in need of drastic, sweeping reforms—in this case, an extended school day and an extended school year.

Though debates over the length of the school day and year are not new, proponents of education reform, like Christie, push the idea as part a political, social, and financial agenda—one that has little to do with student achievement and more to do with weakening teachers’ unions and facilitating charter proliferation in the Garden State.

In his speech, Christie claimed that the “antiquated” calendar that was in place when he was a child needs to be revamped if our “lagging” academic growth is to be rectified and our students are to “compete in the world economy.”  Setting aside the fact that Christie’s son attended the elite Delbarton school, which is in session for 6 hours per day for 163 days per year (as opposed to the 180 days per year that are mandated for New Jersey’s public school students), it’s important to note that the Governor failed to specifically acknowledge that 2013 NAEP results again revealed New Jersey’s public schools to be among the top in the nation. And while there are glaring gaps in achievement among students in the state—test scores are predictably lower in racially- and socioeconomically-segregated areas—on the whole, New Jersey’s children are among the highest-achieving in America. Christie also failed to mention that because of the emphasis he’s placed on high-stakes testing, districts have been forced to narrow their programs of studies, cut personnel, and focus too much on test preparation–all of which negatively impact instructional time.

So why does Governor Christie continually advocate for top-down, one-size-fits-all changes as drastic as revising both the daily and yearly school calendar—especially without presenting any research to show that longer days and a longer year lead to increased achievement–and without presenting any specifics about how and when such a plan would be implemented? Even a brief glance at the Governor’s history is enough to give anyone unfamiliar with the situation some insight.

Immediately after he took office, and despite the promises he made to teachers before he was elected in 2009, Christie went on the offensive against public educators in the state of New Jersey.  He has repeatedly disparaged teachers and their unions; has suggested that teachers don’t care about student achievement—only about having the “summer off”; and has pushed policies, like vouchers and merit pay (which isn’t working as the Governor would like us to believe–read Jersey Jazzman’s analysis here), that are ultimately destructive to our state’s system of public education.

In October of 2013, Christie infamously referred to New Jersey’s urban school districts as “failure factories.” If we  acknowledge that with this label Christie identified areas of concentrated poverty and starved public schools, we can conclude that by extension, he labeled children who suffer the effects of poverty and segregation as failures. A few weeks later, just days before the November election, Christie screamed at a public school teacher who dared to question him about those remarks.

Such behavior isn’t uncommon for Chris Christie, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that the hostile climate the Governor has created—the very one that his supporters celebrate—extends well into the depths of his administration.

Christie praised Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson in his State of the State address, but failed to mention the staunch parent opposition that’s accompanying her decision to close neighborhood schools and convert them to charters. He failed to mention that Anderson hired a disgraced New York City principal who was banned from ever working in that city again because he used $9,000 of taxpayer money for personal expenses to head a charter school. And perhaps most tellingly, he failed to mention that in a letter that was retracted and revised just hours after it was distributed for circulation to teachers and parents, Anderson suggested that Newark students engage in criminal activity on days off from school.  And Christie, the leader of the State of New Jersey and a staunch supporter of Anderson, did not even acknowledge the issue. (Can we deduce that one goal of a longer school day/year is to keep would-be criminals off the streets of Newark?)

And just last week, officials investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal released text messages between Port Authority official David Wildstein and an unnamed person in which Wildstein joked it was okay that “children of Buono voters” were unable to get to school because of the lane closures he helped orchestrate. (Is it okay to for Buono-supporters’ children to miss hours of instructional time because of an act of political retribution?)

It seems that members of the Christie administration are content with labeling children, whether they be failures, criminals, or expendable offspring of non-Christie-supporters—and such a practice is counterproductive to the hard work of educators who truly care about the children of New Jersey and calls into serious question the Governor’s motives.

And just as it seems that Governor Christie’s funding promises to other state leaders hinge on political support and endorsements (Democratic mayors have suggested that they were denied grants and funds for their failures to endorse Christie in his reelection bid; see here and here), the Governor chooses to fund the schools that promote his reform agenda (note the proliferation of charters in Newark and Camden) and withhold funds to those that don’t (note the crumbling buildings and deplorable conditions in Trenton and the neighborhood schools being shuttered in cities across the state).

If Christie has his way, many children in New Jersey will be handed over to unproven, privately-run, sometimes-profiteering charters which, on the whole, exaggerate segregation; are allowed to hand-pick their students; have high student attrition rates; encourage extraordinary teacher turnover, which hurts students and disrupts unions (hint: think organizations Teach for America, whose Corps Members typically teach for a couple years before leaving the classroom); and are responsible for great educational and regional instability in already-volatile areas. (A little more on charters in general here.)

If Christie is to pursue his goals of extending both the school day and the school year, he should begin by presenting research which shows that there is a benefit in doing so–something that he has failed to do thus far.  He should explain how he plans to pay for such changes–especially given that he had to be ordered by the New Jersey Supreme Court to fully fund struggling urban districts after he slashed over $1 billion in education funding.  He should renounce high-stakes tests as methods of teacher evaluation, since such measures are grossly unreliable and do not help students. And if he is serious about adding instructional time for all students in New Jersey, he should support a bill which aims to ensure that all New Jersey children have access to full-day kindergarten. Doing so will demonstrate to students, families, and educators that he truly wants what’s best for the children of New Jersey–and that he isn’t simply making decisions to facilitate the privatization of our schools.

Until the Governor is willing to listen to real educators who have dedicated their lives to children (and not Teach for America executives who have virtually no teaching experience themselves), and until he is willing to listen to parents who have a vested interest in their communities and who oppose charters that divide communities and divert public funds from neighborhood schools, he should focus on making sure instructional time is spent wisely (arts, music, and vocational programs should be available to all students, and teachers shouldn’t be forced to focus on test prep with the sole aim of raising scores on meaningless assessments) and all students have access to fully-funded schools.

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149 Comments

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149 responses to “The real agenda behind Christie’s extended school day and school year proposal

  1. Awesome analysis of a rambling fictionally bias diatribe known as a Christie speech.

  2. vicky

    Honestly what it is going to lead to is an encredibly large number of parents opting for home schooling and home schooling co-ops in a state where homeschooling is a very good option

  3. Joseph A. Della Ferra

    Chris Christie, Kenneth Benaquista Sr., of Belleville, NJ, lied while he was under oath during a deposition for the U.S. District Court of New Jersey while one of your attorneys, Allen BK Urgent, represented him! Benaquista Sr. testified that he did not take any money illegally from anyone when he was a manager with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Benaquista Sr. extorted cash from William Tinger, a letter carrier under his supervision; and he stole money from the USPS. John T. Ambrosio, who currently practices in Montclair, NJ, had proof that Benaquista Sr. committed perjury but the attorney did not advise the judge of the criminal’s activities. Chris Christie, you should focus on getting Benaquista Sr. to pay back the $530,400 in pension money he should have forfeited due to his criminal behavior.

  4. Elmo Jensen

    So what is the agenda/reason for his going for longer hours and/or more days? There’s a lot of information regarding various issues in this post but I don’t see a reason for the more hours/days proposals specifically. What does he gain from that?

    “especially without presenting any research to show that longer days and a longer year lead to increased achievement” – I completely agree that this is a problem, all public policy should be based on either
    a) measured results showing the desired effect (like at a federal level, a state or federal law could be put into effect after seeing the results of other states’ laws) or
    b) if something that’s being tried out with no previous results/study there’s a sunset date vs being enacted forever

    • Ed

      The agenda is creating a no-win situation in public schools, there for paving the way for charter schools.

      • Yup. He said as much himself, I’ve been trying to convince people that this was happening for years. Thank you for helping the cause.

      • seal76

        Charter schools work so well. How many have closed due to poor management, lousy teachers and unscrupulous business practices. I worked in a district where our business manager was a partner in a charter school. She was eventually fired from the district for having a conflict of interest and two full time jobs. Go figure.

    • The measured results are completed by reps of the teachers unions, that is why New Jersey scores high! Taxpayers are so fooled!!!!

      • Mr. Mauceri, are you a teacher? Do you work in education at all? Do you just believe what others tell you?
        Who’s the fool.

      • seal76

        Mr. Mauceri where did you get this information about teacher’s unions. If you only knew how little power they have in school districts. They are not responsible for the curriculum that is mandated in NJ public schools. The federal and state governments are. The local school boards pick the tests and the superintendents and their curriculum directors and principals implement the programs. Teachers are then responsible for teaching the material. Or should I say forced to teach to the tests.

  5. Tom Allen

    I’m in college now and want to be a teacher. But it looks like if Christie implements his common sense reforms I’ll have to look for a job in a different state. I want my 80k for working a mere 180 days per year. Working summers is for suckers. I want to go to the beach. No holidays, no weekends, no nights. Epic. And I can’t be fired with tenure even if I suck? This is why I want to be a teacher! But I won’t work an extra day or an hour longer even if they pay me. So, I guess it’s off to PA for me 😦

    • Mary

      Spoken like someone who has no clue what a teacher actually does. So funny!

      • To Tom Allen – We don’t want you to teach here in New Jersey with that attitude. Sounds like you should look for a different occupation, maybe a “reality show” would be good for you.

      • Patty R

        Hey Tom Allen…don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out of New Jersey!

      • M. Kern

        So I guess you want tenure since you are planning to suck?! Your reasons for being a teacher is warped. I hope you don’t get a job anywhere.

      • skip

        Mary I agree with you 110%. Good for you!! God bless

      • grammar police

        @ M Kern – Your teachers must have “sucked” too….”Your reasons for being a teacher is warped.” should be “Your reasons for being a teacher are warped.

    • Shanell J.

      Tom Allen…if you think that is what you think the typical teacher thinks or feels…then you should stay your butt in college because you are way off base. Try taking up politics…you can get paid for doing what you already do…shooting your mouth off about things that you have no idea about.

    • Arlene

      So sad for you Tom. As a veteran teacher I can assure you that your reasons for becoming an educator are ignorant. And, if you sincerely feel that way, you will be in for a rude awakening. Contrary to the Christie belief, teachers do work summers (without pay), weekends, put in MANY hours without pay, must provide support in the roles of caretaker, social worker, counselor, nurse and nurturer. THAT IS WHAT MAKES A TEACHER. I suggest you explore other professions that would cater to your ignorance. May GOD be with you and our children if you succeed in becoming a future disgruntled educator.

    • Carrie

      Don’t let the door hit you!!!

    • Tom I want to know where you think you will make 80K my husband has been teaching for over 25 years and bearly makes that adding in 3 seasons of coaching. Not working in the summer means no pay in the summer hope you are a good bugeter!

    • Kathleen MacDonald

      Please go into another profession, not another state. I would be embarrassed for our profession to call you one of us.

    • Jacque

      Mr. Allen…..I thought you were being sarcastic or joking. I pity you. You have no clue. Wanting to hide behind tenure. It’s people with your attitude that have ruined tenure for dedicated teachers. And you put it in writing. Not to bright.

    • Diane

      You must be dreaming if you think you are going to make 80k and not work at night and weekends and only 180 days. You need to find another field…. You don’t belong in a classroom with that attitude.

    • Tom

      Obviously Tom is not a student but one of many disgruntled employees of a passionless occupation. The things you list are not the realities of teachers or motivators to teach. Bitterness and resentment towards the teaching profession is a reflection of yourself.

      • Bruce Rogers

        Tom Allen is obviously no college student studying the education to be an educator. He was being entirely satirical with some sort of axe to grind.

    • Irene Lees

      If that is all you are looking for in teaching I hope you never get a teaching certificate. You are the example of a disgraceful would be teacher.
      Hard working teachers spend most of their summers going to school to better their classroom teaching. They spend hours at home preparing lessons. If this is your mindset for teaching then you do suck.

    • Sarah

      Wow. I do not want you teaching my child. You are in it for ALL the wrong reasons. It’s people like you that give good teachers a bad name. Do us all a favor in NJ and please go to another state. You are going to drown as a teacher once when you see how much work it actually is.

    • Scott

      Since you are still in college and have no experience yet, I will clue you in. When school is out, your job is not done. You have assessments to grade, create, and modify. Parents to contact and lessons to prepare for. Never mind the longer day for teachers, kids will burn out. Most schools will have to install air conditioning which is very costly?.,Thank you, but no thanks. Please stay true to your word and go to PA, I don’t want you to teach my child.

    • Jesse

      Tom, you just embarrassed every teacher who worked their ass off to get you into college. You should be ashamed.

    • Tim

      Trollin’ like a champ, Tom. Good job. Why don’t you go do something productive with your time. How about learning what teachers actually do, seeing as how you have such a warped view of reality.

    • E

      You’re funny. $80k? No nights? Summers off? Hahaha. Try $40k, working nights to plan/grade and having a summer job for 7 weeks bc you make such shit money.

      Oh and by the way, you are responsible for helping to shape the minds of children on a daily basis. You can’t show up to work on Fridays hungover and sit in front of a computer screen pretending to do work.

      Appreciate teachers. Try and be one for a month before you say anything bad about them.

    • Erinn B

      SO droll. Obviously this certifiable genius thinks he can back-door slam NJ educators by pretending to be a potential teacher. 80k? What? I second what Mary said. One will work more than your 40-hour-work-week as a teacher.

    • Mrs.P

      Sorry Tom Allen,
      In PA teachers work 190 days, you salary will be about 40,00 or less so you’ll probably need a second job or teach summer school to pay off student loans, plus new teachers need to earn 24 post Graduate credits or lose their teaching certificate. Classes are filled so don’t forget about those through lesson plans you need to write and papers you’ll be grading each night. Oh and we also have a new teacher rating system! Not to mention most school usually have their pick of hundreds of applicants who have been subbing for years to even get a contracted job. Oh and snow days are not paid days off, unless you consider the make up day as an unpaid work day.

    • Obviously, Tom Allen isn’t real.

    • sydir

      Dumb ass comments like that tom is part of the reason teacher’s are hated by other’s …… yea you sound like another teacher who will get a job in an urban district just so you can do nothing!!!!

    • Loryn

      You won’t be missed

    • Hecksher

      Wow, you sound just like someone who is going to be a credit to the profession…NOT!

    • WILL

      If you think teaching is so easy try it for a year, a month, a week. I do not think you would last a day!

    • I think you need to consider a new career!!! I am a teacher and I do it because I enjoy it, it’s my passion. I love my students. 80K a year? You have no clue. The money is way less, and tenure is changing thanks to Christie. There is lesson plans, lots of planning and work to do. Maybe you should consider a job like Gov. Christie’s. DO NOT GO INTO EDUCATION AS I CAN TELL YOU WOULDNT MAKE A GOOD TEACHER!

    • Ted

      $80K?! What world do you live in? My mom has been teaching for 17 years and makes $60K. She teaches summer school in another district because ours had to do away with it.

      I never understood how people found them to be such villains. When I was in school, I remember nice old ladies who taught us valuable information and cared about us. Where is all this hatred coming from?

      • Ted

        My dad also used to have a similar attitude as Mr. Allen. Then he got laid off of his high level directorship position (because the NJ economy is falling apart and his corporation fled the state like so many others). Guess what, he’s now a substitute teacher and witnessing first hand how difficult it is (even as only a substitute). His attitude has greatly changed.

      • Brian

        I’m not sure what districts all you people work in but I looked at the stats in my district and there is only one teacher there making less than $90,000 with 17 years experience or more.

    • steveb

      You’re an idiot! Plain and simple.

  6. Ed

    While I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said here, the bottom line is: How are you going to have a State of the State address and talk about education reform, when the economy of the State is in shambles, businesses are leaving the state in droves, unemployment is higher than any neighboring states and taxes continue to climb? While there is always room for improvement in schools, they are certainly not a complete failure. Where are the priorities? The economy affects every single individual and Christie conveniently ignores it.

    • dodi

      I think it was just to take attention away from the real issues….?

      • Carmen

        Exactly! He conjured up the most ridiculous agenda to distract from the real issues plaguing his administration, two investigations, one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, highest property tax increases in a decade = failed 2% tax cap. If it wasn’t for Sandy he would be exactly what he predicted in his first term — A ONE term governor. What a perfect candidate for President!

      • Erinn B

        Where in history did he enjoy high approval ratings? After his attack on education, and those wicked, awful public school teachers who always have a hand out for money.

    • anthony

      the economy in the whole country is bad , so i think it’s unfair to blame him .. Taxes are high and always have been in this state .Why? Do the math and lets include our unions in this state and the corrupt way things are done..unfortunately teachers are getting the brunt mostly because of the greedy unions the amount of superintendents in this state is crazy .oh and if you mention bridgegate please refrain because if you look back at 95 % of our past governors,senators ,congressmen ,etc. you wont find any that havent raped this state in one way or another..oh and as you can tell i’m not an educator so sorry for my grammar!!

      • Ed

        The tax money spent on union salaries pales in comparison to money wasted by duplicating services and fraudulent contracting deals. Do the math! To say the economy in the whole country is bad is a washed up excuse. NY, PA, DE all have unemployment rates that are dropping steadily while ours continues to rise.

        Why is it so hard to see that politicians from both parties are awful? You cite past governors as an excuse. I agree, they were terrible. And so is he! As governor, he needs to address that business are leaving the state on a daily basis. I don’t care who’s fault it is. But you don’t have a half assed speech about longer school days when the rest of your state is in shambles!

  7. The bottom line is that Christie does not like the teacher’s of this state AT ALL. Every bit of this BS has everything to do with that fact and nothing at all to do with the students of this state. How can you argue with the fact that New Jersey once again is rated as one of the top states in the country for education? He has made it very clear how he feels about teachers. Don’t try to tell me you want to do what is best for the kids, when in 2010 you made all those budget cuts, and education lost the MOST money out of anything you cut. You are a hypocrite and a liar. Oh yeah, and most recently, a criminal.

    • M. Kern

      It’s just another case of bullying on his part. He’s been picking on the union and teachers because they didn’t support him when he originally ran for governor. It is another form of retaliation like the bridge scandal and Sandy relief. He probably is only giving relief funding to mayors who supported him. He is nothing but a bully. God help the US if he ever becomes President.

  8. Dawn

    Can this be forwarded to Christie? What an a**hole.

  9. Bill

    I do not disagree with this article and am not a Christie supporter. But one question I have always had is that when it is said a teacher makes 72K a year, but doesn’t get paid for Summers, how does that work? (Rounding numbers for simplicity), do they get paid 6K a month but do not get paid for August and July, so they are really making only 60K and it is calculated out to 72K a year as if they were paid for 12 months? Or do they actually make 72K a year? If they are not paid for August and July, do they get 7.2K per month? Then that’s 72K for working 10 months – how is that a burden? I’ve heard that teachers can opt to get their salary spread over the entire year, so if they make 72K a year, they will still be getting 6K in August and 6K in July which seems to go against the line that they don’t get paid for Summers. I’m not trying to start an argument, though I have been taught well enough that one will be coming, but how can they get paid per year, select to get the salary accelerated for only the working months, then say they don’t get paid during the Summer? Isn’t that having your cake and eating it too? Thanks.

    • Carol

      Teacher’s salaries are paid twice a month-usually on the 15th and 30th. Teachers have an option to have a percentage of their pay taken out of every paycheck and that is held in an account that is disbursed at the end of the school year. The numbers you are quoting is not the amount of take home pay. Federal and State taxes, pension, insurance, and all the other taxes are taken out of this summer payment. So what appears as bringing home 6K for each of the summer months is actually quite less,

      • Bill

        Carol – thanks for your response and not taking my comments as argumentative. I do think most people understand that when someone says they make 72K, or 35K or whatever, it is understood that that is the gross amount and taxes and other fees / expenses have to be subtracted from it. I’ve never heard someone talking about their annual net pay, however, my healthcare premiums are 13K a year so when I mention my annual salary, in my head I automatically subtract 13K from it

    • DG

      I’ve been teaching for 13 years and don’t paid anywhere near 72K. My salary is based off of 10 working months but you can opt to have money taken out each paycheck to be used to be paid 4 times in the two months you’re not in the working calendar.

    • Shanell J.

      We do NOT make $72,000! That’s laughable because its a GROSS miscalculation! I’m not arguing with you, I just think its funny that people actually think we make a lot of money! Bawhahahahah!

      • Bill

        Shanell – I do not think teachers make that much – it was a number I had been using for calculations at work and it rounded nicely to 12 months – I suppose I could have used 48K.

        Thanks for your response

    • Bill, to fairly answer your question, you must first understand that you are trying to make your point with a number 72K that is truly not representative of the teachers. Those making that much have 20+ years into the profession for most districts in NJ. I had cleared 60K after 15 years of teaching. You know as well as everyone else that no one making 72K a year is “taking home” 7.2K per month……The OPTION of stretching your pay into the summer months is only available if the district chooses to offer it, so it is not a choice every teacher gets. The salary is based on 12 months, but paid over the school year (10 months). There is a reason most who enter the teaching field leave after 3-5 years. Try starting out at 35K (I started at 24K), knowing that you will get minimal raises if any, and look ahead knowing you will not get to 72K for 15-20 years?! no matter how good you are. You truly dont do the job “for the pay”, however, when you want to raise a family, you have to make tough choices. Most teachers fully understand they will be underpaid and are not the ones chanting on about it. However, it is the argument that is usually throw into their faces by those on the other side of the table. Those who argue that they are not doing their job, don’t deserve the pay, etc……You know, the ones really having the cake and eating it too!

      • Bill

        Thank you for your response, it is very enlightening. I did not know districts determine if pay can be spread out over 12 months. And thank you for not taking my question as an argument

        I understand most teachers do not make 72K, it just happened to be a round number that I chose. I also understand that anyone making 72K a year does not bring home 6K a month, but that is for almost all professions and that is how salaries are discussed – it is understood that taxes and other expenses are taken out. I’ve heard teachers pay is bad and figured anyone making 72K was in teaching for a while. I did not know how bad pay was for teachers starting off.

      • Even more detail: When it is announced that the teachers negotiated a 3% raise, this is NOT totally true. The 3% is based on the budgeted money for pay to ALL teachers, however, it is up to the Union to distribute the funds. Long story short, I, with 15 years, could receive $500 a year raise over the contract, while a teacher with 5 years could be receiving $2000 a year raise for the contract. Contract usually is for 3 years, and each district in NJ negotiates its own contract. So every district in NJ has a different pay scale and representation. I dont know the exact figure, but I want to say there are about 500 school districts in NJ?

    • Jacque

      While I know a new teacher, in New Jersey makes approximately 35k for their 10 mouths of service, a veteran teacher of 25 years or more makes approximately 80k and that is at the elementary school level.

      • BP

        I am a veteran teacher. Here is my problem with this. While I now make a good salary on paper, I spent 13 YEARS making a very low salary in comparison, and several of those years paying for all my expenses on my own (pre- marriage). I had to pay back college loans, and am STILL paying back the loans I had to take out to obtain my Master’s degree. I also find myself having to pay back loans I had to take out at various points throughout those 13 years for necessities and unexpected situations. I DO NOT NOR DID I EVER LIVE AN EXTRAVAGANT LIFESTYLE. The “summers off” meant finding supplemental income to make ends meet, until I became a mother. Then, even though we lived paycheck to paycheck, I opted to spend summers with my children. This was one of the benefits of being a teacher – besides making a difference in the lives of children, I could spend at least two months out of the year being a stay a home mom for my own. I can’t tell you the amount of money that has come out of my own pocket for my students in nearly 20 years. I can only hope that I can pay back everything I owe within the next 5, and that I can retire knowing that a pension will be there. Fingers crossed, I still have to think about putting my two children through college. I am like any other hard working American, and I NEVER complained. But I can’t sit silently while others vilify my colleagues and my profession. I just can’t…

    • The only way You’re going to make 72k a year is if you have at least a masters in education and have many many years in. In a well paying district, with a bachelors degree, a starting salary is less than 50. closer to 40, and falling. Good way to attract the best and brightest, right? People always forget that teachers are educated people. A teacher with nothing but a bachelors degree will make 70k (maybe) after 25 years. A teacher with a masters 80 or 90. A teacher with a PhD… pretty much the same, in a wealthy district. Sad but true, but the best teachers go to the wealthy districts because they pay more. What would you expect someone with that much education and all those educational loans to make after a decade in their fields in other professions? Moreover, who do you want teaching your kids? Somebody whose last job was asking if you’d like fries with that? My kids deserve better, and you get what you pay for. Tenure reform is necessary, granted, but this war on teachers was never about education, its about destroying public education in favor of charter schools and private schools.

    • Missy

      Let me put it to you this way. This is my 11th year teaching. I have a masters degree. On the salary guide it says that I “make” 45,500. Want to know what I take home? 2,200/month. And I can’t afford to lessen that small amount by having them stretch it out over the summer (mortgage, utilities, food, ect. exceeds that amount already!!). I’m a single homeowner and ant afford to survive on a teachers salary alone even with my masters degree. That is why I have to have a second job during the school year and during the summer. Now is THAT fair to the children that many of their teachers are exhausted the next morning because they worked night jobs?

    • $72,000 a year! LOL Been working for 20 years…no where near that.

    • seal76

      I am a retired Special Education teacher. I retired after teaching for 30 years. I was making 75K at that time. I started at about 10K.

    • I’ve been teaching 13 years, and barely make 55k. I get paid over 10 months, no summer pay. There is an option to have my salary spread over 12 months, but it really is a “savings account” the district sets aside that you can draw on in the summer, not a paycheck. I know a few teachers that will dip into “summer savings” when they need to for the unexpected expenses. I consider this my “annual” salary, so does the IRS. I believe most districts do give their employees a choice of how they are paid. I think it’s funny when I am asked, “Don’t you collect unemployment in the summer?” (I don’t, I have a job. Hiatus doesn’t mean “unemployed”) I also recently had to have surgery, and I cannot collect State Disability as a teacher. If I want to insure I have any kind of income if something were to happen to me, I pay for private Disability Insurance. I also work a second job, year round, to help meet expenses. 72K would be nice. I left a profitable career in sales 15 years ago to become a teacher, for idealistic reasons. I still, after 15 years, come nowhere near the salary I earned taking people out to lunch and playing golf…I work harder as an educator for much less pay. I really like cake, but teaching is no cake job. No argument here, I find many people ask about 10 month v. 12 month pay.

  10. Your teachers are making serious bank to hitting 72k or 80k a year. Here in Florida teacher make 35k starting, and my wife has been working for 6 years, teaches special needs, and still only barely makes over 40k. How about you guys leaving comments get your numbers right, huh? Dicks.

    • Bill

      Manny – they do not make that much, it was just a round number I used from some other calculations. My bad, should have uswed 48 or 36K

  11. Steph

    What school district do you work for making 72k….. I would happily leave mine and join yours….

  12. http://loweeducation.com/2013/12/30/10-thoughts-a-teacher-hopes-all-parents-know/

    We have got to return to the days of inspiring and empowering our students to be the best. Longer days will not accomplish this. Ironic that the same people who push for longer / more days are the same ones who talk about these “failure factories”. So the Schools as they exist are bad, so we should have students spend MORE time there?!? Can someone explain the stupidity?

  13. Frank

    Teacher salaries are generally proportionate to the amount of income needed to live in that area. Jersey City teachers start at $50k, but south Jersey teachers might only make $35k. However, a small apartment near JC would cost at least $1k a month in rent, whereas parts of south Jersey might cost $500-$600 for similar space. We also get no bonuses, rarely have overtime opportunities, and lose out a lot in various deductions including of course tax. My “$2050 per pay period” is reduced to $1400. $50k becomes $38k after taxes, and that’s barely enough to deal with $12k worth of rent, plus the other bills.

    I am of the opinion public teachers like myself shouldn’t be asking for more than we have except in the categories of respect and attention to our real enemies–greedy members of society and a large amount of poor citizens who don’t value education and therefore suffer from generation to generation because of a lack of a family system that is available to set them up for success. Don’t turn us into “walmart workers” aka charter school teachers, who work longer hours for less pay and fewer benefits.

  14. GordonComstock

    Christie’s proposal to lengthen the school day and school term is so bizarre that it is incredible even the Republicans in the State House could applaud him when he said this. If disciplinary problems exist in many districts (and I think the Good Governor would acknowledge that’s part of the problem, though it is hard to see how even he could believe it’s the fault of the teachers), then extending the period in which students are in school would exacerbate it and cause those schools that are already dysfunctional to become even worse than Christie and his minions say they are. So how does he get away with a suggestion so obviously bogus? What is the point? He’s letting the teachers know he has weight on them, that he can continue to intimidate them as he’s been doing. And his ‘tough talk’ is calculated to appeal to that part of his ‘base’ which is reflexively anti-teacher, anti-Union, and anti-anything progressive and who long for a supposedly golden time in US life before this ‘age of permissiveness’ began–a time when educators were grossly underpaid, when women were grossly underpaid if they were allowed to work at all, when there was legalized oppression of minorities, etc., etc.

  15. Evelyn Johnson

    Democrats are going wild over Christie’s tactics because he is labeled as a Republican. Wrong. He operates as a Democrat. So don’t worry he’s on your side.

  16. Mary Ellen

    I am in my 26th year in my district in South Jersey. I was started on step 2 of the pay scale because of prior experience.(30th year of teaching overall) I am at the top step of our pay scale this year-75,000.

  17. Christie 2016

    Yet he won in a democratic state with a wider margin than any other governor in any other state ever… get real. Christie 16

  18. Rose

    Bill, I appreciate your question, however, I regret that a large number of responses are focused on the “rounded” number example you used instead of responding to the question. I believe only one person attempted to answer it. Regardless of the amount a teacher is paid, is their annual salary before taxes etc. for 10 months of work or 12 months. If I understand correctly, the answer is that the annual salary can be taken in ten months or spread out over 12 months for the most part…although some districts may not follow that option. Is that correct? The argument is not about how much a teacher in NJ makes/earns. I, for one, believe they are underpaid.

  19. Vicky

    From the man who prances through a school for photo opts maybe he should stop and pay attention to how hard teachers work to keep up with the “standards” they have to achieve…. Not what needs to be taught! When’s last time anyone in Trenton really, really went into school and it wasn’t set up like a stage!

  20. Betty Sue Adams

    Wake up people! If you work in the private sector you have a chance to work overtime or you are paid on an individual basis.. You also do not just graduate High School and get to be a teacher! You have spent 5 years for a college education. Many other careers begin on a higher scale with the same or less education! Do we complain about “Plumbers and Electricians”? What about Professional Athletes or Lawyers? POLITICIANS?? Teachers spend their days teaching kids and their nights getting ready for the next day! Go walk in their shoes before you judge. If you had a lousy teacher, remember there are lousy workers in all areas. Often teachers try to take extra coaching jobs, security or advisory jobs to help supplement but there are only so many hours in a day. Kids, like all kids need more than just hours sitting in a classroom. “Parents and Educatorsz’ need to give them the time and support necessary to help them grow into a future generation we can all be proud of. Parents and teachers are all part of the learning process. Christie for some reason hates teachers and our education system. He constantly puts teachers down and has a goal to destroy the Union! I personally think he was teased in school (probably because of his weight) and was deeply hurt .Please remember, most teachers are caring, honest people who love your kids and want the best for them. Support the good ones, by telling them you appreciate them and stand up against those that are not in this profession for the right reason. ……………….Teachers/Educators
    ……”Thanks”

  21. Danielle Tan

    Tom,

    If you WERE actually getting educated, as you claim, you would know sentences don’t start with “but”. Get a life.

    • Sounds like somebody is unhappy in his job. Why don’t you try alternate route? It seems we always have a shortage of teachers. That’s so incredible, considering what an easy, well paid and compensated job it is.

  22. I find it hard to believe that the comment by Tom Allen was written with sincerity, it seems to be written more as a mocking of teachers. Also, the extended school hours are not a Christie original thought. In 2009, Obama spoke on extending school hours, even going to school through the Summer and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, plus many other Democrats advocate extending school hours. Five states are piloting extending school hours this year.

    • The idea is not an idea in Europe, its been implemented, and it works; just not in the way Christie is presenting it. Kids work in school about the same time our kids do, but they get longer breaks all throughout the year. If we were at all interested in what works in other countries who are doing better educating their kids than we are, we might take some advice. They also pay their teachers like doctors or lawyers, hold them to higher standards, and treats them with the respect they deserve.

  23. Alice P

    Not that long ago, there was conversation among the stakeholders in the Newark Public Schools and the State regarding ending the state control of the district because it met several of the critical criteria except for one, and as I recall, was very close to meeting that particular criteria. What happened between then and now? How did this leap into privatization occur when good news was coming out of Newark? Doesn’t anyone recall that? This is wholesale destruction of the Newark Public Schools and the union, soon to be in your neighborhood too! How did we get to this point with such union busters? People, please revisit your history and take away some lessons from the trip!

  24. Under the new teacher evaluation system, we are rated not only on our performance, but on the performance of our students. Let’s hold Christie to that same criteria. Given the actions of his minions; two fired, eight others receiving subpoenas, I’d clearly say he failed. Later, ChristIe!

    • Adele

      I wish we could say “later” to all the substandard teachers with “tenure” whose little minions are not benefitting from the quality education they should be getting.

      • Wow, I really wish the people so quick to jump on the anti-teacher bandwagon knew what they were talking about. Although, learning is obviously not their strong suit.
        Tenure is not the end all and be all of teachers. You’re not just magically invincible once you have tenure, and one of the things going on now is that teachers that aren’t making the grade are being put through their paces, just like any other employee. However, it’s not the bad teachers who suffer under our esteemed Governor, it’s the good ones who are so bogged down in paperwork that they have no time to prep lessons, that work 80 hour weeks for what comes out to less than minimum wage, it’s the school boards that take on a teacher for three years and then fire them before they get tenure in order to hire someone cheaper. This is what’s happening- and our good teachers are leaving in droves. I can’t blame them. We’re planning to move too. New York, where at least it’s not New Jersey. Over the rainbow where maybe our educators will be allowed to educate.

  25. Carrie

    But, I thought, according to every school teacher EVER… they already work over the WHOLE summer break! Ya know, attending seminars and writing curriculum! So, why are they all soooo upset at the prospect having to ACTUALLY work the hours/days that they SAY they’ve been working for all these years?!?!

    • Elissa

      Why is this only about “teachers’ salaries, and amount of time they work”? What about asking what benefit does this have for students? If children aren’t learning when they are in school presently, what makes anyone think extending the school day will increase learning? Many impartial studies show that young children learn and retain more information early in the day and older children need more sleep in the morning in order to learn and retain information should go to school later. When will this be addressed? When will new programs be introduced appropriately? Don’t start new programs in all grades at the same time. Begin in kindergarten and the following year proceed in k and 1, etc. let’s see what happens by the time those first kindergarten students get to 6th grade!

      • I’m sorry- my reply was to Carries’ post. It looks like it was directed at Elissa, obviously, it was not.

      • seal76

        It is hard enough to keep students on task during the current school day. Extending the time per day spent in class will not increase learning unless drastic changes are made in the curriculum. Perhaps extending the school year to 12 months might work if week long breaks were given for family vacations or other arrangements could be made for children who need to be absent for some reason. With lap top and tablets students who have to miss class for an extended period of time could Skype or have on line lessons and assignments sent to them. However the school day or school year is increased the one question that has yet to be answered is how will this all be paid for. Not only will teacher’s salaries increase but utility bills for the school buildings and administrative offices will also increase. Where is the money coming from? Taxes? I am fairly certain that NJ residents don’t want to pay any more than they already are. Federal money? That is still tax dollars. Where will the feds get the money? We could stop paying out foreign aid, end corporate and farm subsidies and stop forcing the Military to buy weapons systems and other equipment they don’t want or need. I don’t have the answers and I am sure Gov. Christie doesn’t either.

    • You’re an idiot. I’m sorry, I just can’t take anymore. If teaching is such a great gig, why is there always a shortage of teachers?
      If the powers that be had any business sense (which they do) they would understand (which they do) how important our GOOD teachers are, and that there are some bad apples in every profession. They also know that NJ has some of the best public school teachers and schools in the country.
      Tell me, would you want to go through 4 years of college, knowing you’ll make crap money, knowing at the end the government will try to fire you, call you names, encourage the people to do the same, have to defend your profession to people who have no idea what you do every day (like you), and worry every day that you’ll be the subject of another government bill to strip what few benefits you have left?
      That does not seem like a good way to attract good teachers to the profession. I’d rather work at McDonalds. If you work it out, hour for hour, the pay is about the same.
      My kids deserve the best teachers, and since I know something about business too, I know that’s not the way to get them. Your kids can live in a trailer and drop out of school in the second grade. We’re moving.

  26. noel phinn

    Always said Christie looks and behaves like John Gotti , didn’t know he would try to wear the Don of all Dons coat too.

  27. Richard

    It’s amazing how resistant teachers are to improving education. The point here is, Christie wants to change the mentality towards school. For so long, school has been considered second priority, teachers are not respected well enough, salaries are too low.

    Taking steps to modernize the education system shows that governments are taking a higher interest in education. These types of changes make education a priority. Making school a larger part of the day and the year, as well as reducing the security of tenure gives a true opportunity to schools and teachers to be recognized, achieve higher salaries by performing well, and make a difference in children’s lives.

    Please take a step back and look at this from an educational perspective, this is not an attack on you as a teacher making you “work harder.” This is about making children’s lives better.

    I speak from my daily life, which after graduating college I have worked 8-5 every day mon-fri, and many weekends. For years I was making less than many teacher salaries, but this is just part of working towards a successful career. Many years later now, I make the salary of a well positioned teacher, but I have very little job security. I live with a teacher, and I want her to have the best possible benefits and work schedule, but she also feels that she wants to be able to work harder and improve more kids lives and be rewarded as such. I fully agree and want this for every public education teacher. I want teachers to succeed, and I want them to be passionate about changing kids lives and rewarded as such, and still maintain a really wonderful summer vacation that I will probably never experience unless I lose my job. More power and money to passionate teachers to change kids lives, less power and money to administrators. Let’s make this system great.

    • Richard

      Just to add, I feel that Christie is taking the right steps, but perhaps the detailed direction could be altered or up for negotiation. It just upsets me to see people generalize and lash out. Let’s not vilify, but rather work together and take these steps to better education. He’s the governor we have right now, we aren’t going to impeach him over these things, it would be much wasted energy. Let’s switch our energy from anger to constructive support and influence the right steps. Many well thought out arguments will do far more for the system than hateful blogs and articles.

    • Richard

      One final note – I wish I could edit. My first sentence is not fair. I was reacting to many comments on here. I know there are many passionate teachers out to improve education. There are many that I see here that are just attacking this situation and resistant to change without even thinking about it. Perhaps we don’t like Christie, but immediately resisting just because some think he is a bully or a poor leader does not mean we should always jump right to conclusions. Please accept my apologies, my first sentence was a generalized reaction and not fair.

  28. seal76

    And who is going to pay the public school employees for all of the extra days and hours? Certainly the Governor can’t expect more work and not have to pay for it.

  29. MArjorieJugan

    One of the biggest problems with this is that there will be more students dropping out of school.The education system in New Jersey went downhill when they began putting more emphasis on test scores and not on teaching them. Go back to that way of thinking schooldays are long enough and the time in school is fine.I am so glad we got out ofNJ when we did.

  30. I can’t believe some of the comments. The foundation of our democratic system of a public education for ALL is under fire. Corporations and wealthy individuals with a political, financial, economic agenda are altering our PUBLIC school systems. Follow the research. Read Diane Ravitch’s books. Educate yourselves and become knowledgeable. How in this day and age, with our history, can we not look beyond the surface? Money influences. It buys things.

  31. Reblogged this on lesson plans and name brands and commented:
    Great article about Christie and incredibly accurate! A must read for all current and future teachers.

  32. Bernadette Coyle

    Bernadette
    Students would benefit from an extended school day and an extended school year because so much “slippage” of curricula occurs that Septembers are often spent reviewing. Yet tourism and the Jersey Shore businesses would be hurt as vacation time would be shorter, And who in the USA supports longer work hours for less pay? Taxes would need to go up to pay for additional schooling time. However, parents would save money on daycare and camp fees if students were in school more. Obviously, adding time to the school year would affect many stakeholders and require paying school employees more. These topics should be discussed and debated.

  33. I agree with the points of the article, but I never learned “the real agenda” behind the longer school day and year. Most of the article discusses issues only tangentially connected to this issue and the only discussion of this potential policy change is that he has not proved it to be better and has not shown a way to pay for it. It would be hard to argue against the proposition that more time in class would result in more learning. The question of whether this would be best for kids is a separate question. And can’t the legislature redefine the school year as say 200 days and increase the minimum standards for what it considers an acceptable school day? I’m sure the union wouldn’t be happy about it and would argue that you have to pay more if you are expecting more, but it would depend on a sympathetic judiciary, which I’m not sure is in place now.

  34. When Christie or Arne Duncan or anybody trying to undermine public education says students need to “compete in the world economy,” I hear it as code for “our students are irrelevant to the world economy now and can be dismissed to fend for themselves.” It’s the same as how we’re all told from when we’re small that US troops protect our “freedom.” We are never encouraged to question what this really means.
    Seems to me that from a ruling elite perspective, public education was useful when it helped educate children who were needed for the increasingly urban-centered, industrial economy of the 1800’s. Now in post-industrial America, that same ruling elite doesn’t need all the children educated like they once did. So, why not make money off of the decline and disintegration of public education while we evolve into the 3rd world nation we’re becoming?

  35. Excellent! I’m going to link to you from my blog!

  36. After he de-mob’d from the Army Air Corps at the end of WW-II, my Father’s entire career was as a High-School English Teacher – I treasured every hour I spent with him BECAUSE there were so few of them. In order to supplement his salary as a Public-School Teacher, he had to Tutor students most evenings, he had to have a second job on weekends, and he had to work at summer jobs every year. When he finally got home each evening, he would eat with all of us, then go up to his room for a few hours of grading papers and class preparation; then he would come down and fall asleep in front of the TV. Our “Family Vacation” comprised loading everyone and everything into the station-wagon for a week of family-camping at a state park; it’s what we could afford. He loved, respected, and supported his students and (most of) them loved and respected him in return. He was a Steward in the Teachers Union and, as such, he advocated and fought for Arts in the schools. You couldn’t “buy” such a person, he turned down numerous opportunities to switch to more financially lucrative fields. His life was, and still is, typical of the hard working, dedicated Public-School Teachers.

  37. Ron DiBiase

    Please read Christie’s promise to the state’s teachers prior to his first victory. It’s really very simple..After he solicited the union’s support and did not get it….he declared war on the union and the entire educational system in the state. Please, please, read the letter… You will see that all of his rants degrading teachers are a direct contradiction to what he wrote in his letter.. plain and simple. Poor Chris didn’t get his way and now he is holding the state’s educational system hostage. Sound familiar? No… he knew nothing about closing those lanes down… yeah… sure. Wake up and smell the coffee NJ… or smell the stink coming from the governor’s office!

  38. olin

    He is always making state employees out to be be leeches on the community. He has to make up lies to do it though.

  39. It EVEN GOES DEEPER …
    To Destabilize Society, Tax Women and set up the New World Order – Aaron Russo

  40. seal76

    My grandson is in full day kindergarten. He is one of the youngest in his class. His birthday is August 29, 2008. His teacher suggests retention which my wife and I (both former teacher with 30 year each experience.) He is not meeting the insane benchmark and assessment requirements. There is even a suggestion of pull out or classification. My son (single father) and both of us are completely against these suggestions. Can we refuse retention legally?

    • seal76

      Please any comments or advice about the above post would be great.

    • So sad that kindergarteners are subjected to this kind of testing! I don’t think there’s any way the district can force your grandson to repeat kindergarten, but I can look into it and try to direct you to people who could give you advice. You’re in New Jersey?

      P.S. My birthday is August 20th, and I was always one of the youngest in my class!

      • seal76

        I have searched the internet and am unable to find any legal precedent or reference to what parental right are regarding retention. My experience as a Special Ed teacher (30 years) tells me that no parent has to agree to retention. My son is against it. The district where I worked and he attended school tried to retain and classify him. We refused. He went on to the Navy and graduated at the top of his class at Photographers Mate School. He also became a USN SEAL and served 10 years in SEAL Team Five and was an instructor in Kodiak Alaska. He taught maritime and land navigation as well as cold weather survival and winter warfare. I wonder how much retention or classification would have helped him? Thank you.

    • unbelievable. We are going through (kind of) the same thing. Do not let this happen. You are not obligated to comply with the schools’ wishes. The school benchmark may not be the same as the state benchmark, and the state benchmark is the one they are beholden to. Go look up the common core standards online, get the state benchmarks, meet with the teacher, child study team and principal, and let them know that they can not push you around. The problem is that the teachers are being pushed afound– the schools are being pushed around– and so you are being pushed around. This is not an anomaly- it’s ging on everywhere. you have to fight for your child. The teachers will do their best, but they have to fight the Governor with one hand, the board with the other and do their job with a third. its so sad.

      • seal76

        Kindergarten is not mandatory in NJ. My wife and I along with several other former and current professional educators agree that retention is Bullshit in this case and many others. We along with those professionals will work with my grandson as needed. The tests, assessments, benchmarks don’t really measure the whole child or their capabilities. We and our son are satisfied that our grandson is a very capable boy and that in time he will do just fine. We have been down this road before with our oldest son. He graduated at the top of his class in the US Navy Photographers Mate “A” School. He became a US Navy SEAL and served ten years in that capacity. While on active duty he taught land navigation and maritime navigation, winter warfare and survival, tactics, marksmanship, demolition and numerous other SEAL related skills. He is now a very successful small business man and has served as armed security on Maersk Ships while in the employ of Trident Group. Keeping our son out of needless replacement classes did not hurt him in the least. I am a former SEAL and combat veteran. I taught school for over 30 years. I have learned that the only easy day was yesterday.

    • As I read through this thread, I have questions throughout. Why are you as grandparents so offended by a teacher recommending retention, or classification for your grandson? With over 60 years experience, you should understand that there are times that these actions are best for the child. Why would you post on here for advise when you give no details about social behaviors along with daily academcis? You should understand that these factors are more important than the insane benchmarks and assessment requirements, and also understand that Common Core Testing is NOT a part of benchmark and state assessments yet. Why are you comparing your grandson to what you and your grandson have accomplished? You should know that what you or your son have accomplished should have no baring on choices made for him. If you had been successful after dropping out of HS, would you suggest that your grandson do the same?
      It seems that you should have enough experience to know that the best way to handle is to pull key stakeholders for a meeting to discuss all the details concerning your grandson with an open mind as to what is truly best for him. Being held back in K is not going to ruin a child, however, moving a child on to struggle could do major harm. What is good for your grandson is something NO ONE on here or anywhere else should answer unless they are one of the key stakeholders. With 60 years experience, I am offended at your comment that the teacher is only recommending your child for retention for the betterment of a Teacher Evaluation!? It is comments like these that misinform (retaining children is NOT a factor in Evals), and I find it unprofessional of you to insinuate that a teacher would do so. Sadly if you think this way now, I would hate to have seen what decisions you made as a teacher? With 60 years experience, I hope you are able to approach the situation with an open mind and do what is best for your grandson. Retention, Classification, or the extra help you and your wife can offer- that is a decision only your inner group should make based on discussions with the school.

      • seal76

        As mentioned before we have been through this with our oldest son. Without the the extra help that was the district solution to his “problems” he managed to very well. He became a Navy SEAL and served ten years as an operator and and instructor until he was medically discharged. We have open minds and are willing to do the work that is needed to aid help our grandson. We see the whole child. The benchmark tests and the assessments measure only a small part of what his capabilities. You are incorrect when you state that a child’s performance in class is not part of a teacher’s evals. How children perform in class is a consideration and part of the standard evaluation of teacher performance in this district and most others. I think there is a bit of CYA not only on the teacher’s part but the district as well. To put it simply our grandson has the capability to master the skills needed to succeed in life and we will do everything needed to help him. We have other competent professionals out our disposal who have agreed to help. We don’t need the school district to pull him out of class for extra help and deprive him of the time he enjoys in class. We have the situation well in hand, We don’t need the help of what can be at best described as a mediocre school district.

      • So the teacher/district is recommending retention/classification to make themselves look better, or are they doing so because the child is struggling? Assuming the child is struggling, are you saying a teacher should never advise classification or retention? One child’s performance, positive or negative, will not be a determining factor in a teacher’s evaluation, sorry. The class’s performance is a contributing factor. Your grandson is lucky to have people behind him in support, not all kids do and teachers can’t assume that. By stating “We have the situation well in hand”- you admit that there is a situation, which in itself says that the teacher is doing the right thing for the child in addressing said situation. There may not be a need to retain due to your help, and that should be discussed in the meetings. In a counter argument (playing devil’s advocate), one could say that “he has the capability to master the skills….” and with your expertise and help, however, your grandson is still struggling and we need to look into it to see why. Was testing talked about to see if there is a learning disability? Again, wish the best for your grandson in looking at all options and making a decision with all facts known.

      • seal76

        We have made our decision. Nothing you say will change our minds. We have consulted professionals outside of the school system who know our grandson and have taken all things into consideration. He will not be retained and he will not be pulled from class. Struggling is the word the teacher used. We don’t see it.End of story. Thanks for your input but we are done here.

      • Well, in that case, your original posting “Please any comments or advice about the above post would be great.” Should have been, “We have made our decision. Nothing you say will change our minds. End of Story.”

      • seal76

        Based on the comments we have read and the research we have done we have made the choice. We appreciate the input but frankly your input has been somewhat abrasive. However I will let you know the outcome of our decision and the progress that our grandson makes.

      • Missy

        For your grandson’s sake, I hope you are making the right decision. As an educator myself, I can honestly say we are not quick to retain students. In my 11 years teaching, I have had a total of 2 children retained. And I might add, retention worked WONDERS for those two students. I still keep in contact with those 2 students whom I had in 1st grade as well as their parents as they said it was the best decision they made. Number one reason why? It gave them the time to catch up and their confidence and self esteem grew tremendously, making them actually enjoy going to school because they love learning and are not frustrated anymore. I have taught many struggling students in my career both with and without a strong family support at home. Just because they “struggle” doesn’t mean they should be retained. However, the teacher must see something that you may not be seeing when working with him at home.

        Side note: you shouldn’t compare your grandson to your son. Just because they struggled does not mean they both need and do not need the same interventions. Also, the curriculum is so different and much more demanding for children now compared to what it was like when your son was in kindergarten. Forget cut and paste activities…those are out the window! Look into any kindergarten classroom and you will find them reading and writing. Even compared to 10 years ago, there is a major difference with what is expected with children today.

      • Del

        We’ll then why in the hell did you comment on this forum in the first place?? I’ll pray for your grandson.

  41. Adele

    Why on earth would you want to push the child ahead if he’s already struggling? You’re just setting him up for years of misery and struggling. Not to mentio, by middle school and most definitely high school years, no matter how smart he is he’ll still be behind the eight ball at a maturity level compared to his classmates because “he’s the youngest in the class.” Trust me, in 10+ years you’ll be saying “holding him back was the best decision we ever made.” I’m shocked as educators you and your wife had to even give this a second thought.

    • seal76

      Struggling is the term used by the teacher. Based on assessments and benchmarks that are to say the least inappropriate for the kindergarten level. As educators we are aware of the fact that part of the concern comes from the teacher’s desire to look good on her evaluations. That is no concern of ours. We want is best for our grandson. We have 60 years of teaching experience together. In addition we are willing to put in the time to “catch him up” as it were. We also have other resources at our disposal. We have given this matter a great deal of thought. We have done research and have consulted with a child psychologist who specializes in child development and educational matters. What we have concluded is that pulling him out of class or holding him back a year is not an option.

  42. Reblogged this on naptimethoughts and commented:
    This is a really important topic in my part of the world, and this is a very well written piece regarding the truth about our esteemed governor.

  43. Pingback: Rowan University: what the hell are you thinking? | teacherbiz

  44. Pingback: Shocking news: Chris Christie lied about unions | teacherbiz

  45. Pingback: New Jersey voters on standardized testing: ENOUGH. | teacherbiz

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