Thursday, March 8, 2012

NJ Teachers Union Uses Money, Words to Fight Against Reform

NJEA Executive Director Vincent Giordano.
Last month, the leader of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) dismissed the plight of students from low-income families. Today, the Associated Press reports another interesting bit of news about that same union: they spent more money than anyone else in New Jersey last year to block students from receiving the much-needed educated reforms they deserve.

At School Choice Now!, we stand for educational options for all students, with a particular focus on ensuring that students from low-income families have a chance to attend a school—public or private—that will give them the best chance to succeed.

NJEA Executive Director Vincent Giordano may be comfortable saying “Life’s not always fair” to families across the Garden State desperate for high-quality options, but we’re not.  And we’re pretty sure that teachers, who work tirelessly in public and private schools all across the country to educate our kids, wouldn’t take too kindly to that dismissive attitude, either.

Today's AP story reports that the NJEA spent $11.3 million lobbying in 2011.  To be specific, they spent that money fighting against a host of education reforms across the state, among them the Opportunity Scholarship Act. The bill, which would create a scholarship tax credit program that would serve children attending schools in the state's poorest-performing districts, has bipartisan support in both the State Senate and Assembly.

Let's be clearthat $11.3 million is not just tops among education groups in the state. It's more than any group has ever spent in a single year in the history of the state.

A total $10.8 million—more than 90 percentof that total was spent on advertising, a significant increase over the previous record of $6.6 million. Those ads were aimed at stopping the agenda put forth by Governor Chris Christie, which included a robust education reform package, including passing of the OSA for low-income families.  They used that money for billboards, television, radio and Internet ads, and a banner plane. Is that really the best way to spend money?

Maybe the teachers union can put that money toward better use, like helping teachers or students—two groups the union purports to represent and help.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

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