In theory, it should be this easy…

…but we’ve been told for too long that without “nuance” (which too often becomes doublespeak) a politician can’t exhibit sophistication of mind. And somehow, sophistication has been linked to competence. I think it’s a false link.

H/T Allahpundit who also has a transcribed excerpt of an exchange between Christie and a public school teacher. Nuanced, it was not.

I am all for good teachers being well-paid, but I also think tenure needs to be re-examined and perhaps re-defined. There has to be an easier way to remove poor-but-tenured teachers to make room for people who actually want to be in the classroom. When my Elder Son was in the 6th grade (13 years ago?) his teacher (Masters Degree in Education) was making $110,000 per year and getting ready to retire with one of the most generous full-benefits pensions I’ve ever heard of. He’d been phoning it in for years, and that last year was a complete waste for his students. Teachers making $110,000 a year (and I know that is an exception; Long Island pays its teachers very well) ought to be outstanding. All students deserve more than bored teachers cruising on autopilot.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Jim Hicks

    Really enjoyed the clip of the NJ Gov. Everytime I have heard him he is the same: direct, funny and passionate about what he believes. It is so refreshing to have someone in politics with his courage and sense of humor.

  • Anna Barrie

    I live in NJ and support Chris Christie 100%. What a relief to finally have a politician who says what he means and means what he says.

    [But we are a fickle folk. Bush was a pol who meant what he said. After a while everyone hated him for it. -admin]

  • Roz Smith

    The terms of employment always acts as a filter on who seeks a particular job. Tenure was supposed to provide an environment in which teachers and scholars could take intellectual chances. The reality often is that tenure combined with high pay and an early retirement with generous benefits attracts a high percentage of both the risk adverse and the lazy. I think that explains even better than political bias why so much of the elementary and secondary cirriculum has become dull and lacking in challenge.

  • YogusBearus

    My take on Governor Christie is that he’s liberated to act in the best interest of his state because he isn’t preoccupied with reelection. Pretty refreshing.

  • cathyf

    Tenure for K-12 teachers is all about being able to give an F to a student who fails a class, even if the failing student is the child of the school board president.

  • JuliB

    cathyf – while that sounds both right and good, I don’t think that’s how it really works.

  • Judith L

    We need a governor like Christie in California. I might be mistaken, but since the last two Christie videos, it seems to me that Meg Whitman has toughened up her rhetoric. We had tough rhetoric with Arnie and he melted as soon as the heat turned up a notch. (Maybe fat protects better than muscle.)

    All I can hope is that our new governor visits Trenton and brings some of this clarity, honesty and courage back to Sacramento.

  • EJHill

    The crises that we see in the capitals around the world and amongst our states is like an individual who has found out that he has a cancer. You can deny it and hope for the best or you can fight it, knowing all the while that the chemo and the radiation is going to make you feel like crap.

    Gov. Christie reminds me of the fictional Gregory House on the hit Fox medical drama. He is blunt and at times sarcastic but bedside manor is not what cures the ills. He’s telling us in no uncertain terms that this debt and spending is KILLING us. You want to get better? Then YOU have to DO something about it.

  • kimsch

    That teacher said if she gets $3 an hour for the 30 kids in her class she’d make $83,000 a year and that she doesn’t make near that. $3 for 30 kids, she thinks she should be paid $90 an hour?

  • Lúcia

    Today us the day of your ´10 Patron, and the great saint of the Holy Church. St. Philip of Neri, pray for us! Your reader from São Paulo state, Brazil.

  • Bender

    Sorry, cathyf. That might have been argued as reason historically for the institution of tenure, but it has long had nothing to do with academic freedom. It is instead now a matter of pure power politics and materialistic greed. That is, the reason for tenure today is teachers’ unions putting guns to the heads of the public and, like most unions today, looting the treasury as much as they can while the getting is good.

    If we are to “redefine” tenure, the only way to rightly do that is to define tenure as at-will employment.

  • dry valleys

    I like some good honest profanities myself. I don’t use them here but I’ve actually got no time for people who are offended by swearing. Because if I see, for example, two pre-pubescent children being tried for rape because a game went a bit too far, or consenting adults being sent to hellish prisons for expressing their love for each other, or any outburst of absurdity, I think these things are a lot MORE offensive than four-letter words, or bare breasts, because one genuinely harms people whereas the other doesn’t.

    You will get people who mindlessly shout abuse but I have got friends whom I wouldn’t hesitate to call swearing poets.

    I liked this nice answer to authoritarian puritans (with all their friends in big business working in unholy alliance with the state).

    [As I've admitted here, I’ve been known to speak the sailor’s tongue from time to time, but I have always appreciated that commenters don't do that here, even though "mild" swearing is okay with me. Unless there are children or elderly folk around, I don't get too worked up about swearing. Naked breasts don't bother me, but I do get annoyed at things like "wardrobe malfunctions" that flash nudity when families are watching. People should have choice as to whether they want their kids to see a boob or not (I'm speaking of breasts, not politicians). It all coarsens the culture. But to be perfectly honest, I'm tired of watching a baseball game with my sons and having to endure scores of commercials about erectile dysfunction, and I am sure they don't want to watch women discussing douches and tampons. I'm no prude, but enough, already with that. -admin]

  • dry valleys

    Apart from his naysaying toward the current administration in Britain, which I broadly support. I certainly don’t regret my decision to back Clegg. But I never joined a party, so I am definitely keeping my powder dry for times I’ll need to attack them. It has happened already. But that’s a matter for activism outside party politics, campaigning for & against whatever it is. You have to put your cross next to someone, unless you boycott elections which I’ve only ever done once, in a local election when I read their campaign litrature & decided the whole lot of them were worthless. (The ones who won proved this to be true- then the old candidates were run in the next lection, won, & were as bad, so I was right!)

    Bit of a digression. I am just saying that people need to be stark in their expressions sometimes. Even if my own tastes run more to Al Franken’s rejoinder to the Tea Party faithful than to what Christie said!

  • dick

    Your story reminds me of my organic chemistry professor in college. His test papers were so old that they were yellowed when he passed them out. Every frat on campus had copies of all his tests and had had them for years. He retired the year after I studied with him. What a lousy teacher. Part of the reason I dropped chemistry as a major. The next prof in line was cut from the same cloth. Not what I was looking for in my professors.

  • Beth

    There was an interesting article in the Washington Examiner yesterday which said that the teacher who complained actually makes MORE than $83,000 a year. She makes 86K.


    P.S. I’ve read your blog for several years now, and I really appreciate your work!

  • Daniel

    Judith L made an observation that it is all too common to see candidates talking tough and then melting when they get in to office. Christie had to take a much different approach in that he talked softly and vaguely until he won the election and the lion came out. I almost did not vote for him (we had a third party candidate) because I figured we were just going to get another weenie who would continue the status quo and let New Jersey spiral into failure.

    Christie is grabbing the bull by the horns and he is wrestling the unions and the liberals to the ground! In four years, I suspect that everyone who is whining now will step back, realize that their world did not end while New Jersey has become a much more well balanced state, and re-elect him. There will be some who will never forgive him for cutting them off the gravy train, and others who would never vote for him out of principal, but I think he will have enough votes to make it if he just keeps pounding away at the problems here.

  • Pingback: I Just Hope She’s Not a Math Teacher | DeTocqueville's Daughter

  • Ruth Joy

    And according to the Examiner today, Wilson makes $86,389. She she’s being overpaid according to her own calculations.

  • JBalconi

    It depends on the district, frankly. I was floored when I heard about the NYC “rubber rooms” where teachers were paid not to teach. Getting $83K a year seems impossible; I know college professors who make less.

    Then again I’m in a district where teachers have taken paycuts, given up health benefits, and coached for free – and this BEFORE the economic downturn. Tenure really has prevented grade changes based on athletic skill, nepotism in hiring, etc.

    I notice, too, that administrators are let off easy. There is a process for getting rid of bad teachers and, believe me, even the union can’t help if the problems are documented. Administrators can do unannounced evaluations and observe the classroom just by popping in. If there are complaints about a teacher, they can call for a meeting between parents and the teacher – and that’s another way to light a fire.

    BTW I used to think that politics could be shady until I taught at a private school. I guess there are bad practices everywhere.

  • bt

    With regards to the topic of gag-me-already commercials mentioned above, my going on 100 year old grandmother would watch the evening news. The commercials are embarrassing. It was torture seeing my grandmother having to sit through these types of commercials, just to be able to enjoy a little evening news.

  • Mack

    No tenure or unions for teachers in Texas. I loathe unions anyway; they are simply another layer of looters at best, terrorists at worst.