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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Progressive Parents, Closed Schools

Residents of wealthy, left-leaning communities in New Jersey struggle against the power of teachers’ unions.
Steven Malanga March 29, 2021

While the fights to reopen schools in San Francisco and Chicago have garnered national headlines, some of the most telling battles are being fought in small, wealthy, progressive New Jersey suburbs, where teachers’ unions have flatly refused to return to school, prompting what one local resident described as “chaos.” Parents complain that the intransigence of unions and local officials amounts to a betrayal of progressive values, and they grumble about the lack of support from Governor Phil Murphy, who relied on backing by the state teachers’ union in his election campaign four years ago.

Case in point: Montclair, New Jersey, an affluent bedroom community of New York City, home to many Gotham transplants, including influential media figures from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek. Nearly 70 percent of adults in the town are college-educated, and median household income is an impressive $126,844, according to the U.S. Census. As is increasingly typical of such suburbs, its residents vote reliably progressive. Fewer than 10 percent of the town’s residents are registered Republicans, and in 2017, 77 percent voted for Murphy against Republican challenger Kim Guadagno—22 percentage points more than he received in the statewide vote. In 2016, 85 percent of residents voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

Perhaps because Montclair is so reliably left-leaning, the state teachers’ union, the powerful New Jersey Education Association, targeted it as a place to increase its political clout, as part of a statewide strategy to get union members elected to office. “It’s no longer enough to lobby decision-makers. We must become decision-makers,” the NJEA wrote in a strategy paper. To that end, the union developed a political leadership academy to recruit members for local offices, according to a report by the Sunlight Policy Center of New Jersey. The “most famous graduate” of that political academy, according to Sunlight, is Sean Spiller, current mayor of Montclair and vice president of the state teachers’ union. Some Montclair parents are angry with Spiller because their schools have remained closed for in-person instruction for a year............To Read More.....


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