Posted on

Public Employees time for Obamacare ?

BOE_the ridgwoodblog

Law’s expiration may renew battle over benefits
February 2,2016

PLEASANTVILLE, N.J. (AP) — A state law requiring public employees to pay a percentage of their health benefit premiums expired last year, setting the stage for a battle over benefits between school boards and teachers unions.

At issue is whether school boards will be able to maintain those payments during contract negotiations or whether the unions will have the clout to roll them back, The Press of Atlantic City reported (

At stake are millions of dollars that ultimately would be passed on to local taxpayers. Statewide, school districts budgeted almost $4 billion for all employee benefits for the 2015-16 school year.

That represents almost 18 percent of all state aid and local taxes spent on education.

Steve Baker, director of communications for the New Jersey Education Association, wrote in an email that they expect many local unions will make the payment an important part of their negotiations.

“Different locals will pursue different strategies, but I think you should expect to see that issue raised in nearly all negotiations once the sunset is reached,” Baker said.

The New Jersey School Boards Association is advising members to expect that request. In a November memo, NJSBA manager of labor relations Patrick Duncan noted that in the last year prior to the law, only 13 percent of contracts analyzed by the NJSBA required any employee contribution.

Posted on

Why is Educational Freedom So Important?


America’s students as a whole lag behind many other industrialized nations on international tests. Government expenditures on K-12 education have more than doubled over the last 40 years (adjusted for inflation), and yet U.S. students’ academic performance at the end of high school is flat.

Learn more:

Posted on

Ridgewood Teachers should be thankful

NOVEMBER 27, 2015    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2015, 12:31 AM

Teachers should be ‘thankful’

To the Editor:

As a 33-year resident of Ridgewood, I am perplexed by the dissent of the Ridgewood teachers and their union about their current contract. The teachers are unhappy about paying for the increase in their healthcare costs. Everyone today is paying for their healthcare increases: medical personnel, retirees, and pharmaceutical company employees. The reason healthcare costs are continually rising (and will be in the future) are: Obamacare for the masses, an aging baby boomer population now requiring geriatric, cardiac, cancer, psychiatric, specialty care and designer drugs to help everyone live a longer life. Did the New Jersey Education Association think its Democratic-endorsed, union wishes for a national healthcare program would be absorbed by the public when in fact other municipalities in New Jersey and other states have opposed the taxpayer absorbing this substantial cost? Who did they think would pay for this? Ridgewood taxpayers should not be penalized for their selfish/unrealistic union demands.

New Jersey teacher’s pay ranks second highest in the nation. Teachers in Ridgewood earn a six-figure salary within five years. In addition, master’s degrees, additional credits, tutoring, tutoring for SAT’s allows them to earn additional/substantial monetary compensation. Their annual increases are more generous than some state employees. There shouldn’t be a financial problem for any teacher to absorb the costs as they are earning a 1 percent upper compensation in the United States in education. There are places that are more expensive to live in than Ridgewood. In the past, certain teachers who were unhappy with contract negotiations refused to give recommendations to the seniors for college.

The teachers have job security (unlike the corporate sector), do not face age discrimination, receive 80 percent of their salary in a pension as well as a taxpayer-payer paid two-day vacation in November for a teacher convention. I say “vacation” because I have never met anyone who goes to Atlantic City for the convention but goes to a destination such as Florida.

Unfortunately their healthcare provider, Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield, of the New Jersey Education Association is the most expensive. As a matter of fact, some teacher’s spouses working in corporate America have dropped their corporate health plan (Cigna, Aetna, etc.) coverage because the state employee plan is more lucrative. The taxpayers of NJ are paying for the healthcare benefits of these teacher’s families.

In summary: I think the teachers of Ridgewood and New Jersey should be most “thankful” for the generosity of the Ridgewood taxpayer this Thanksgiving Season and not “thankless.” I sincerely hope the arbitration board will take a firm stand on their role in representing the Ridgewood residents.

Janis Belcher


Posted on

Ridgewood Schools Still Shine but Nationally Math, Reading Scores Slip for Nations’s School Kids


2015 Ridgewood District-wide Science Testing Report
Click here to read the District-wide State Testing Report for Science 2014-2015, presented to the Board of Education on October 19, 2015 by the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Cheryl Best.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Results from national math and reading tests show slipping or stagnant scores for the nation’s schoolkids.

Math scores were down for fourth and eighth graders over the last two years. And reading grades were not much better: flat for fourth graders and lower for eighth graders, according to 2015 results released Wednesday for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam.

The falling mathematics scores for fourth and eighth graders mark the first declines in math since 1990.

The results suggest students have a ways to go to demonstrate a solid grasp or mastery in reading and math.

Only about a third of the nation’s eighth-graders were at proficient or above in math and reading. Among fourth graders, the results were slightly better in reading and in math, about two in five scored proficient or above.

The report also found a continuing achievement gap between white and black students.

There were a few bright spots: the District of Columbia and Mississippi both saw substantial reading and math gains.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged parents, teachers, and others not to panic about the scores as states embrace higher academic standards, such as Common Core.

“We should expect scores in this period to bounce around some, and I think that ‘implementation dip’ is part of what we’re seeing here,” Duncan said in a phone call with reporters. “I would caution everyone to be careful about drawing conclusions.”

Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, echoed Duncan.

“One year does not make a trend,” Minnich said at a panel discussion Wednesday. “We set this new goal for the country of college and career readiness for all kids. Clearly, these results today show we’re not quite there yet and we have some work to do.”

The Common Core standards were developed by the states with the support of the administration. They spell out what students should know in English and math at each grade level, with a focus on critical thinking and less of an emphasis on memorization. But they have become a rallying point for critics who want a smaller federal role in education and some parents confounded by some of the new concepts being taught.

The NAEP tests, also known as the “nation’s report card,” don’t align completely with Common Core, but NAEP officials said there was “quite a bit” of overlap between the tests and the college-ready standards.

Posted on

Democrats Big Donors for Teachers Unions


Teachers’ union is big donor to N.J. Democrats

The super PAC that has spent nearly $1 million to support Democrats in New Jersey’s Assembly elections next month has received nearly 90 percent of its money from a group affiliated with the state’s largest teachers’ union, records filed with state regulators show. Andrew Seidman, Philadelphia Inquirer Read more

Posted on

School board must talk healthcare : Time for Teachers to Go on Obamacare

obamacare_theridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ , School board must talk healthcare costs with union no truer statement has ever been said and since the teachers unions were overwhelming supporters of Obamacare for the rest of us ,its high time they participate in the “healthcare” they pushed on the rest of America .

OCTOBER 9, 2015    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2015, 12:30 AM

BOE must talk healthcare costs with REA

To the Editor:

I am proud to say that I have been educating 6 and 7 year olds in this community for 32 years. Many of these children have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, actors, and most dear to my heart, teachers, as well as numerous other professions. The one thing they have in common is Ridgewood and the superior education they received here.

As I enter into my 33rd year of teaching, I look into the eyes of my current students, knowing the path in front of them will lead them to a successful future because of the dedicated teachers and administrators who work here.

Each year, teachers are asked to do more and more for less and less. We all understand the economic realities that face us today. Teachers are taxpayers, too, and we all have our own budgets to balance.

As a member of the REA, this is my 11th contract negotiation, and it is sad to observe that every negotiation has become more and more acrimonious; however, never in my 33 years has a Ridgewood Board of Education refused to discuss all of the topics that need to be negotiated, specifically healthcare.

Every day I come to work knowing both parents and administrators expect me to be keeping the best interests of my students in mind. I would like to think that the board is doing the same for my colleagues and me. My personal contribution in 2012 to our health benefit package was over $2,200. In 2015, I am now contributing almost $10,000, which is a 350 percent increase. However, my salary certainly did not increase that much. It actually increased by 4.9 percent over the same time period. Anyone retiring from Ridgewood within the next five years will not be able to make the same amount of money that he/she did in 2012. That is just wrong!

All that I am requesting of our Board of Education is to have respect for us as educators, professionals, and community members and to sit down with the REA to talk about the cost of our healthcare benefits.

Donna Pedersen


Posted on

A punch? Maybe not. But here are 10 reasons why teachers’ unions deserve to lose.


Posted by Matt Rooney On August 03, 2015 11 Comments

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Governor Chris Christie’s CNN interview continues to elicit strong reactions, Save Jerseyans, and the problem with this controversy, as with similar incidents, is that most folks are focusing on the style points. It’s among the regrettable byproducts of our presidential politics, cultural decline, and hyper-politicization of the education industry. But those are topics for another post…

What about the substance?

Let’s revisit, briefly, what these teachers’ unions are all about and objectively decide whether they deserve to exist (I’m not pulling any punches):

10) The union establishment’s demands are as unrealistic as they’ve been fiscally ruinous. NJEA members will donate $126,000 to pension and health benefits over 30 years but stand to collect $2.4 million in return. Who thought this was a good idea??? Are all of the calculators broken in Trenton? Of course not. It’s all part of an elaborate, decades-old double-whammy of vote buying and problem avoidance. Instead of hating Chris Christie, teachers should direct their ire to the politicians on their own union’s campaign season payroll. They did it.

9)  Their chosen tactics are disgusting. Wisconsin’s recent experienceswere horrific, and the physical/verbal violence perpetrated by Big Labor’s storm troopers was 100% one-sided.

8) The system these unions ferociously protect is failing our country’s most vulnerable children, especially those students living in poorer, minority-concentrated school districts. Click here to check out my lengthy run-down of Camden High School’s plight (catalyzed by a give-and-take with my liberal friend of Inky fame Kevin Riordan) for the uncomfortable truth.

7) American Teachers’ unions = Democrat Party affiliates. After self-preservation, the teacher union establishment is primarily concerned with protecting the Democrats whose policies protect their power. A good faith union would avoid colluding with one political party or the other, pursuing and prioritizing the best interests of its membership and their children. Not the teacher’s unions; in this state and most others, and certainly nationally as Chris Christie pointed out, they function as a Democrat Super PAC. The American Federation of Teachers has already endorsed Hillary Clinton before either party held its first debate!

6) Dues tied up in waste and hypocrisy… so teachers lose, too: The NJEA collects a 9-figure annual sum in teachers’ taxpayer paycheck-derived dues; its regular and political arms spend many millions more in lobbying and both direct and indirect campaigning activity to influence public police. What do its members have to show for it???

5) Therefore, these unions have a financial incentive to protect bad dues-paying teachers at the expense of the education system. Much has been written on this topic but John Stossel did a particularly good job of illustrating how difficult it is to purge the suck; it’s a crisis that’s turned even hardened union veterans against the tenure-centric system.

Posted on

Major Win For School Choice: Charter Students Smarter, Earn More


Major Win For School Choice: Charter Students Smarter, Earn More

Robby Soave|Jul. 22, 2014 10:15 am

Wikimedia CommonsA just-released study from the University of Arkansas provides a substantial endorsement of charter school education. U.S. students who spent several years in charter schools were found to score significantly better on tests and make more money than their counterparts in traditional K-12 public schools, when adjusted for funding discrepancies.

Researchers examined data from 21 different states. While the results varied, charter schools were found to be more productive—and generate a higher return on investment—than traditional public schools (TPS). On average, charter school students scored so much better on assessments that spending money on charters was roughly 40 percent more efficient than spending money on TPS. According to the study:

Comparing [National Assessment of Education Progress] achievement obtained in public charter schools versus TPS for 21 states and DC, we find the public charter school sector delivers a weighted average of an additional 17 NAEP points per $1000 invested in math, representing a productivity advantage of 40% for charters; In reading, the public charter sector delivers an additional 16 NAEP points per $1000 invested, representing a productivity advantage of 41% for charters.

Posted on

New figures break down New Jersey’s school costs by district


New figures break down New Jersey’s school costs by district

MAY 9, 2014, 6:06 PM    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, MAY 9, 2014, 6:31 PM

New Jersey districts spent an average of $18,891 per pupil in 2012-13, up 4.8 percent from the year before, according to figures released Friday by the state Department of Education.

By the Numbers:

Spending per pupil by school district in the counties of Bergen and Passaic in 2012-13

Top 10

Bergen County Special Service$93,953
Bergen County Vocational   $33,685
Alpine        $27,459
Carlstadt-East Rutherford$25,994
Passaic County Vocational$25,003
Saddle Brook$23,708
Pascack Valley Regional$23,472

Bottom 10

Prospect Park$15,237
Hasbrouck Heights$15,127
River Edge$15,076
Little Ferry$14,916
John P. Holland Charter$14,815
Elmwood Park$14,543
Bergen Arts & Science Charter$13,822
Passaic Arts & Science Charter$12,288
Classical Academy Charter$8,440
Among regular districts in the counties of Bergen and Passaic, total per-pupil spending ranged from a high of $28,733 in Moonachie to $14,030 in Fairview.

Three charter school districts had the least spending per student, including the Classical Academy Charter School which spent $8,440 per student and the Passaic Arts and Science Charter School, which spent $12,288. Spending is lower in part because charter schools receive no facilities aid. 

The Bergen County Special Services district, which serves severely disabled children, spends $93,953.

Of the 103 regular and charter districts in Bergen and Passaic, 19 saw their per pupil costs drop, while figures rose in the other 84.

The Taxpayers’ Guide to Education Spending can be found at here

– See more at: