Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini!
This is a clip from the mind numbingly dull Iowa Republican Debate. In it, Fred Thompson was asked what he thought the biggest impediment to education is right now and he actually came right out and identified the problem. He did what no politician in his right mind would ever do… he told the voters the truth, even though it meant pissing off the single largest lobbying group in the country.
According to Fred, (and me, and Milton Friedman, and Walter Williams, and Thomas Sowell, and everyone else who knows anything about the realities of Economics) the NEA (otherwise known in New Jersey as the NJEA) is the single greatest threat to our children’s education. They prevent good teachers from getting paid more than bad teachers. They prevent administrations and school boards from being able to fire bad teachers. The ensure that poorly performing school systems are rewarded with more money and that better performing school systems are penalized by taking money away. They do all they can to prevent competition in the system. They lobby aggressively for smaller classes (more teachers per student) higher pay per teacher, and lower performance requirements, and will fight to their last breath to make sure that no one implements anything resembling actual accountability. And they have made it abundantly clear that they believe that there is no problem in education that can’t be solved by going back to the taxpayers, and throwing good money after bad.
New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the country, and the reason that’s so, is because the schools are constitutionally prevented from raising money any other way. Naturally, the NJEA has gone to great lengths to try to eliminate that obstacle as well, so that they can get access to the broader tax base and more effectively hide their system wide failure at managing costs. And since they are the single largest and wealthiest lobbying group in the country, (and we know how our NJ legislators feel about lobbyists) they always have someone around to help them navigate the potential pitfalls of the taxpayers catching on to what they’re doing.
Wanna know who to blame for the high property taxes in New Jersey…Blame the NEA.