As teachers in Paterson, New Jersey for many years, we have seen respect come and go. In the last four years, we have been stripped of all of our respect and dignity. It has been said by many, including our President Barack Obama that “teachers are the root of everyone’s success.” You would think that we would be given the utmost respect for our hard work and dedication.
Respect and thanks is definitely one thing that the teachers of Paterson, New Jersey are not given. In the past four years, we have continued to inspire and challenge our students. We have given them the academic and social foundation that they will need to succeed on their journey of life and education.
Call us crazy, but do you consider these derogatory labels a sign of respect? “I’m tired of you people", "failure factories", using students like "drug mules.” These are Governor Chris Christie’s words regarding the teachers of New Jersey. We are the same educators that not for one second in the past four years have put ourselves or more importantly our own families first. In the four years of not receiving any pay increase, our governor recently increased the salaries of his employees by 20 percent. Our district spent astronomical funds renovating the Board of Education offices while we purchased school supplies so our students can be prepared. Mind you we struggle to provide for our own families.
The discriminating proposed contract eliminates four increment steps in which the teachers of Paterson NJ have earned. All we are asking for is a FAIR contract that will reimburse each Paterson teacher for their increments lost since 2010 and enter the school year 2014-2015 on the correct step we deserve to be on. Moving forward, we will continue to inspire, motivate, and prepare our students for their years ahead.
We have contacted the district, our union, our congress and also the media without getting a response.
We hope you can help us with what we have been waiting almost FIVE years for.
Paterson Public School Teachers
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