Yesterday, the Star-Ledger published an excellent editorial “Money Still Piling Up for the NJEA Brass,” which cited Sunlight’s discovery that NJEA Executive Director Ed Richardson was paid a jaw-dropping $2.5 million in 2019. Today, we learned from a friendly teacher that the NJEA retaliated with a hit-piece on Sunlight from its Orwellian-named Center for Education Honesty. You can find it under “Propaganda Watch” – because the NJEA would so much rather attack the messenger rather than rebut our undeniable facts about excessive leadership compensation funded by teachers’ highest-in-the-nation dues.
As quoted in the editorial, NJEA Communications Director Steve Baker tried very hard to explain away Richardson’s $2.5 million, using smokescreens like Richardson’s pension was “not guaranteed,” which is laughable, given that NJEA leadership pensions are 137%-funded. Is Baker suggesting that the NJEA won’t stand by its obligations for Richardson’s (or Baker’s) pension? Commendably, the Star-Ledger did not buy what Baker was selling and published the editorial.
Of course, Baker, himself, made $591,000 in 2019, and he and the NJEA leadership would prefer if teachers never found out about how they are getting one-percenter rich off of teachers’ dues. If not for Sunlight and the Star-Ledger, they might never have known. Sunlight exists to provide precisely these kind of facts about how New Jersey’s most powerful special interest operates, and thank goodness the Star-Ledger continues to lead the way for New Jersey journalism.
Finally, note that the stated purpose of the Center for Education Honesty is to enlist teachers in local school board politics by organizing them to “discredit bad actors,” which clearly includes parents who are upset about CRT, sex ed and the like. The NJEA even provides a ready-made channel for teachers to report back to the NJEA about problem people and groups. No doubt so the NJEA can go after them, too.