Over the last several months it’s been a pleasure to witness the easing of ill will between the leadership of NJ’s primary teachers’ union, NJEA, and members of Gov. Christie’s educational team. After several years of bitter recrimination from both sides of the table, everyone seems to have moved on from the trauma of our botched Race To The Top application and former Comm. Bret Schundler’s resignation. Sure, the sting of last Spring’s health and benefits reform bills, championed by Gov. Christie, must be a sore spot for union leadership, but there appears to be a shared recognition that we should recalibrate the balance between the needs of schoolchildren and the needs of teachers. Suddenly NJ’s 100-year old tenure law is on the table – a boon for both student and professionals – and Ed. Comm. Cerf ‘s speech at NJEA’s Annual Convention earlier this month and was courteously received (except for a few nasty tweets).
So we’ll hold onto the progress and roll our eyes at the retro and reactive press release just out from NJEA President Barbara Keshishian, in which she claims, in outraged tones, that NJ’s alleged achievement gap among black, white, Hispanic, and poor kids is a “classic strawman” on the part of Gov. Christie and “based on a deliberate misuse of the data.”