By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
If you are one of New Jersey’s more than 100,000 public school employees (or, like me, you married one), you enjoyed a five-day paid mini-vacation last weekend.
?? If not, you got yet another lesson on why we pay more state and local taxes for schools,? while kids learn less and come out of school hopelessly unprepared to deal with life on their own.? If you are a parent with kids in public school, you also had to miss work, juggle your schedule, or pay extra to care for your kids while school was closed.
?? All public schools in New Jersey closed last Thursday and Friday, because years ago, the labor union for all their employees (the NJEA) got a special law passed saying all teachers are “entitled” to time off with pay to attend the yearly two-day union meeting in Atlantic City.
?? Besides being expensive and inconvenient for working parents, closing the schools in November disrupts the education process.?? Dealing with Thanksgiving and Christmas recesses is difficult enough.
?? Why must the schools close?? Why can’t the union hold its two-day meeting during a weekend, or during the spring or summer recesses when the schools are closed anyway??? The short answer is that the union is more concerned with the comfort and convenience of its members, than of the working parents whose taxes pay their salaries, or with the education of our children.?? You see that a lot in government education.
?? Also, how many teachers actually go the two-day teacher’s convention??? The teacher’s union handles the registrations, and they know the exact numbers.?? But is that information made public??? If so, I would like to know.
?? I do know that all flights between most vacation destinations and the New Jersey airports of Newark, Philadelphia, and Atlantic City were heavily booked leaving New Jersey Wednesday and Thursday, and coming back Sunday.?? That’s why I drove for my vacation.
?? Schools were also closed on Monday, November 12, completing the five-day mini-vacation.?? Why??? Veterans Day, this year was Sunday, November 11.?? That day is important because the armistice (cease-fire) that ended World War I began on November 11, 1918.?? At the time, most Americans believed we had won the war that would end all wars.?? World War I was important because that was when most Americans realized that liberty in America could not be secure if the rest of the world were controlled by enemies of liberty.?? When Americans forgot that lesson and let dictators in Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan get too strong, we had to fight World War I all over again.?? We turned the Armistice Day of World War I into a Veterans Day to honor veterans of all our wars, and to remember why they were fought.
?? But do we honor any veterans or learn any lessons by closing our public schools the Monday after the holiday, and make it part of a five-day mini-vacation???? How many public school teachers or their students showed up at Veteran’s Day ceremonies because schools were closed the following day? And if closing public schools on the day after Veterans Day did nothing to teach our children the importance of the holiday, why did we do it?
?? The sad answer is that the national holidays of Washington’s Day, Lincoln Day, (now president’s day), and now Veterans’ Day no longer promote America’s unique heritage of liberty as they once did.?? Their main purpose it to give pampered government employees another paid holiday at the expense of everyone else.? Ditto for two ethnic holidays (Columbus Day and Martin Luther King Day) that were turned into new national three-day holiday weekends for government employees.? (Heavy lobbying and campaign contributions by the travel and tourism industry were a big help.)
?? How did I spend my five day mini-vacation???? Five years ago, a talented business consultant for one of America’s leading accounting companies in Atlanta retired, and settled in the Four Seasons of Galloway. He taught courses at Stockton, and was active in his homeowners association.?? I met him after he wrote the minority report for the model Constitutional Convention for New Jersey, and put him on the board of www.libertyandprosperity.org.
?? After two years, he figured out it was easier to leave New Jersey than to fix it.?? He invited me to his beautiful $425,000 home near Wilmington, North Carolina.?? He pays $2,200 in real estate taxes.