I’ve been a member of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) — one of the nation’s most powerful state teachers unions — since I started working in education a year and a half ago. I’ve been an advocate for education my entire life, served on a board of trustees at a county college, and am proud to come from a family of teachers.
My grandmother was an elementary school teacher, my uncle is an assistant principal and my aunt is a principal. And even though I believe in the vital role that unions have to play in protecting workers’ rights, especially when it comes to educators, I’m confident that Janus vs. AFSCME is a victory for rank and file teachers.
Here’s why: big unions like the NJEA have become increasingly concerned with accumulating political power and rewarding their leadership, even while they have neglected their obligations to working class teachers and put our union in financial peril.
While this is a problem plaguing teachers unions nationwide, you would be hard-pressed to find a stronger example than here in New Jersey.
In 2016 — the most recent year for which this data is available — the NJEA gave their top leadership a 42 percent pay raise. On average, the fourteen officers identified as NJEA leaders earned more than $530,000 — up from $379,000 the year before.
An emphasis on adult employment