Chris Christie: The Anti-Education Monster

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Chris Christie: The Anti-Education Monster

Post  Church1ll on Mon May 10, 2010 11:34 am

Someone reposted this letter to Gov. Chris Christie on facebook, and it is quite a powerful read:

To: The Honorable Chris Christie



From: Steven Derion, A 2007 Nominee for the Governor's Teacher
of the Year Award, Manahawkin, NJ


I am the enemy. I never realized this until your election to
governor. In a few short weeks, you have made this fact explicitly
clear to me. A large portion of your budget address was about my
profession, and how we have caused the problems this state now faces. I
want to thank you for opening my eyes to this fact. However, I am not
sure I understand how I am the problem or how I have caused the state to
be in such debt.

I have been teaching in our public school system for 9 years.
I started at $36,000 a year. My college roommate started as an office
worker at an accounting firm for $75,000. It was the same year. He
told me he mostly made copies and plugged numbers into a computer. I
was designing lesson plans, teaching classes of 30+ students, some of
whom had problems with drug abuse, crime, and depression. After nine
years experience, I made $52,000 last year. I would like to point out
that this is $8,000 less than your "media relations" person. You know,
the 25 year old who runs your Twitter and Facebook accounts. As for my
college roommate, he now makes double what I do. We both have
bachelor's degrees. But what do I know? I am the problem.

You tell the people of New Jersey that we teachers get a free
ride on the pension "gravy train". Well, I contribute to my pension.
It has been deducted from every paycheck I have ever received. I've
contributed thousands of dollars, yet you do not contribute to my
pension even though it is legally and contractually required. You have
lied to the people of New Jersey and your refusal to pay the pension
just puts off the inevitable. Leave the problem for the next
generation, I suppose. I also paid over $6,000 in property taxes. It's
convenient that you leave us to be blamed for property taxes when we pay
just as much as everyone else. You and those who attack us seem to
forget that. But what do I know? I am the problem.

During my time as a teacher, I have volunteered many late
hours..volunteered! Although you seem to think all I care about is me,
me, me. I have coached girl's powder-puff football for nothing. I have
chaperoned school dances, plays, and fundraisers. I have worked the
concession stand at football games. I wasn't paid for any of this. I
have bought hundreds of dollars worth of shirts, cookie dough, pizzas,
and countless other items that I didn't really need but wanted to help
support my students and their activities. I have "canned" at football
games to help needy students, stayed late waiting for parents to pick up
kids who missed their busses, and bought classes pizzas and breakfast to
reward them for their excellence. I cooked a class eggs and waffles
once because they brought in over 500 canned goods for our local
homeless shelter. I have been in a dunk tank not once, but twice to
fundraise for my school. I have taken pies to the face and almost had
to kiss a ram, all for my students. My coworker and I once organized a
pancake breakfast for a student battling cancer. We and many of our
colleagues whom you demean were at school at 4:30 in the morning to
prepare pancakes for a school of over 2,000 students. We raised over
ten thousand dollars for that student. I never asked once, "What is in
it for me?"

You have declared open season on teachers. You have made us
the bane of New Jersey 's existence. I read the comments on the
APP.com< http://10.1.0.8/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://app.com/> and
Press of Atlantic City websites: teachers are lazy, overpaid,
underworked. We are whiners. I guess that is what I am doing right
now. You have made it okay to bash us. Some of the public are rejoicing
that my colleagues will lose their jobs. Until you opened my eyes and
opened their mouths, I never realized what a terrible person I was.

When I decided to study education in college, my mother warned
me that I had better not teach unless it was a passion. She told me if
I just wanted summers off I wouldn't last. She was a teacher herself.
She said I could get paid better doing other things. She told me my
efforts would not be appreciated, that it was only a matter of time
before politics made us the enemy again. I didn't listen. Teaching was
a calling for me, and I thought that even though I wouldn't be paid a
lot, at least I would have good benefits, a pension, and job security.
What a fool I was! I thought I was doing the right thing, helping kids,
improving society. Turns out the whole time I was none of these things.
I was the enemy. I was the problem. My own government has forsaken me;
my own community would like to banish me. For the first time in my
career, I am questioning my decision, feeling my passion diminish.

Thank you for showing me the light. My only hope is that the
next generation does not see the light, and does not listen to you,
because if they do there will be no more problems like me, there will be
no public education. You will have won your war against the middle and
lower class. You will create a society where the rich get educated and
the poor do not. But then again, what do I know? I am the problem.

Sincerely,

A 2007 Nominee for the Governor's Teacher of the Year Award

Steven Derion

Manahawkin


I found this amazing for a variety of reasons, the most obvious of which is that Mr. Derion is absolutely correct: a massive majority of teachers do far more work in their nine months of school year than many do in a full year, and yet they only get paid for the time spent during the school day. I know this because my own parents are in the education system. They've each worked for close to thirty years now and make less than $80K each. I'm not complaining, by the way, because that is a lot of money. The point I'm making is that, compared to other professions such as engineering and business, $80K is closer to a starting salary than something you would make when nearing retirement. If you want a real eye-opener, back when my mother started working (also in New Jersey) she only made $6K a year. Six. Thousand. Dollars. Think about that for a moment. Many high school summer jobs pay close to that if you work forty hour weeks. And now I'm losing my focus...

There really are a ton of people who view teachers as evil, lazy, undeserving scumbags. Sometimes, they are correct when it comes to the assholes who just don't care and feel they can do whatever because of tenure. For the most part, though, teachers have to put up with an absolutely insane amount of shit no thanks to some of the more ridiculous people/laws out there. Student acting up in class and refuses to go to the principle's office? You have to call the police/school security to escort the child there. Is the child black? Or Hispanic? Now you have a civil case on your hands because the brat claims you are "racist" and all the evil little white brats were the ones REALLY acting up. Flunk a student? Now your job is on the line because the idiot's parents think their child is the next Einstein (the solution to this one, though, is putting the kid in Advanced Placement classes and seeing how long it is before they want out. Usually, it's a matter of days. Thanks mom!). Student starts hitting you? Don't even think about laying a finger on them, or you will be arrested for assault despite video evidence showing the teacher defending him-/herself. And now they have to deal with being a scapegoat for budget problems. Way to show you care about education, Christie. Or is this part of your master plan to leave the masses uneducated so they can't read in to your party's (Reps) lies in the near future (although, this one also means people can't read into the Dems' lies either).

Teachers DESERVE the pensions and benefits they were once guaranteed. I don't want to hear "oh it's not fair teachers get all this shit" because in all honesty without those benefits no one would teach. Anyone new to teaching would leave within five years. It isn't worth the shit they have to put up with. Oh, and for that whole "being payed a full year's salary for nine months of work" nonsense? $40K starting is suuuuuuuuuch a lot of money. So much, in fact, I'd gladly give up my football signing bonus of $2 million just to teach! Or the $20K military signing bonus plus another $20-30K/year! Or the $10K signing bonus, plus a $70K/year salary from the engineering firm! You want to know the total amount of money teacher's benefits are worth? Around $10K, almost all of it from their health care benefits, and even those benefits aren't exactly great until you've been working for, I don't know, thirty years. Oh, and don't forget that teachers are only paid for the work they do during school hours, meaning they don't start getting paid until the first bell rings and stop getting paid once the last bell rings. That means that prep work in the morning, waiting for all students to go home, any board meetings, workshops, conventions, etc. are all unpaid. All the work teachers do in the summer to prepare for the next school year is also unpaid. Oh, and all those teaching supplies come out of the teacher's paycheck unless it is a mandatory school supply such as required reading by the school. Many teachers have to pay for the chalk/markers they use to write on the boards. But, you know, teachers don't deserve to get anything since they're lazy scum.

So remember all that the next time you hear a politician or some other idiot shout about how teachers destroy society and whatnot, when in fact without teachers we would all be living in impoverished neighborhoods with insane crime rates. Remember that without education our technological advancements wouldn't be where they are today, and where it could have been tomorrow.

Just remember that without teachers, we wouldn't be able to write our thoughts on a website like this, because without them we would be so uneducated (and have no motivation to learn for ourselves) the power to think for ourselves would be gone.
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Church1ll
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Re: Chris Christie: The Anti-Education Monster

Post  Church1ll on Thu May 13, 2010 11:39 am

Update: Apparently Christie is now targeting New Jersey's police and fire forces as well. And is giving tax breaks to millionaires, because, you know, millionaires need a little more spending money (or perhaps it's because Christie himself is a millionaire). Yes, Christie, the best way to reduce our current deficit is to destroy some of the lowest paying professions out there despite them actually doing some good (and I'm not talking cutting a handful of people, I'm talking cutting entire departments).
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