As intended, Mendacious Michael “Hundreds of Millions” Gottesman and his NJEA-funded NJ Public Education Coalition (NJPEC) succeeded in turning a regular North Hunterdon-Voorhees (NHV) school board meeting into a large-scale political campaign — backed and financed by the NJEA. On the other side are NHV parents and school board members. It’s a hugely lopsided playing field in favor of the NJEA and its allies. Will this become the new norm for regular school board meetings in NJ?
As in many NJ communities, NHV parents have objected to library books they consider to be inappropriate for school-age children. This has naturally made its way to the NHV school board because school boards are meant to reflect the views of the local community. That’s what they are there for. Reasonable people can disagree about which books are appropriate but there’s an established local process to work it out. Local disputes stay local.
Not any more. Enter the progressive zealot Gottesman and his NJPEC. As we previously detailed, Gottesman has viciously and personally attacked NHV parents and sitting school members and brought his brand of scorched-earth politics to NHV. He staged a political campaign-style rally in NHV with the intent of inundating the school board meeting with his imported NJPEC activists in red shirts (the color of the NJEA) and the media dutifully in tow. It worked as planned. Because of the huge number of activists, the school board was forced to postpone the meeting.
Making the NJEA’s support for NJPEC’s progressive agenda plain for all to see, NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Petal Robertson was at the rally. NJEA red, indeed.
Joining Robertson and the hordes of NJPEC activists were three prominent Democratic state-level politicians: NJ Representative and Senate candidate Andy Kim, NJ congressional candidate Sue Altman, and NJ State Senator Andrew Zwicker all lent their heavyweight presences. And ALL have strong NJEA ties.
- REP. KIM: Endorsed by the NJEA in 2018, 2020, and 2022, the NJEA has routed $20,000 to Kim via NEA contributions. The NJEA has also canvassed and phone-banked for him across his district, and even created a Team Andy: “NJEA educators are Team Andy. Andy Kim has been a friend to NJEA and NEA members since his election in 2018.”
- ALTMAN: Altman was the long-time Executive Director for NJ working Families Alliance (NWFA), a progressive grass-roots organization with close ties to and a great deal of financial support from the NJEA. As we documented in May 2023, NJWFA has a very close relationship with NJEA. The NJEA’s Director of Government Relations, Deb Cornavaca, was a past head of Legislative Affairs for NJWFA. All told, the NJEA has contributed $975,500 to NJWFA in outright grants. NJWFA has also been paid $339,000 to get-out-the-vote for NJEA-backed candidates, including current NJEA President/Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller. That brings the total to $1.32 million. (To be fair, Altman is a Voorhees HS grad, so she could have a personal interest as well).
- SEN. ZWICKER: Over 5 elections for the state senate and assembly, NJEA PAC has contributed $63,200 to Zwicker, one of the highest totals for any state politician.
When the NJEA calls, these politicians respond. Despite Gottesman’s mendacious denials, we know for a fact that the NJEA funds NJPEC, so NJEA money is heavily involved. But NJ’s biased (here and here) media chooses not to inquire.
So there you have it. The $150 million NJEA brings its political clout crashing down on the heads of a school board, a community, and the parents who comprise them, led by the bullying zealot Gottesman and abetted by NJEA-friendly pols. The goal is to overwhelm any resistance to the NJEA’s progressive agenda by whatever means necessary. Will this become the new norm for school boards?
Again we ask if NJ teachers would approve of this use of their highest-in-the-nation dues. Not that they have a choice.