The quote "Public employees have become targets of anger and criticism" that was followed by "and that's leading to a growing number of them calling it quits," came from Lester Holt last night on NBC Nightly News.
John Yang reported from New Jersey where public worker retirement jumped 60% and nearly doubled for teachers in 2010. But it is not just Governor Chris Christie "mocking teacher benefits" who deserves all the credit. The report shows many states where politicians downgrading the value of public workers has become too much for the good government workers to continue. In 2010 California and Colorado each reported a 20% rise in retirees from the public sector. This year Ohio has reported a 34% increase and after the assault from Scott Walker public worker retirement in Wisconsin is up 96%.
One New Jersey teacher was the focus of the segment. Judy Cinnamond who has decided to give up teaching. This highly respected educator sums up the situation with "All of the sudden the teachers are the enemy and I don't want to feel that way. Having dedicated my life to this job, I just don't want to feel that way."
At first I didn't understand why John Yang claimed "For Judy Cinnamond it is with a sense of satisfaction." The satisfaction in her retirement is because she can still remember "getting up coming to work feeling like I'm doing something valuable" and now with so many elected officials dedicating so much time to causing stress and anxiety for hard working teachers, she is finally getting a break. The segment ended with "One more experienced teacher joining the growing ranks of public workers deciding to call it quits."
NBC understood that there was much more story than they could squeeze into the nightly news and this web only follow up gives Judy Cinnamond more of a chance to share her wisdom. She stresses why older teachers are so important in the public school system. Her explanation of why it will be good to get out is a reflection of these times, "It's gotten to the point now where I just need to retire. I need to rid myself of all the rhetoric, rid myself of all the negativity that goes on as far as contract negotiations and I need to, you know, go on to my next job."
And in this video the principal of West Windsor Plainesboro High School, parents, students and other teachers who worked with Judy Cinnamond try to explain the loss that politicians don't value. "The knowledge that she has from the teaching of mathematics, from the teaching of kids and from getting kids to learn, when she walks out the door we lose a lot of that. We lose almost all of it."
It is also not just Republicans. Did you see this weeks news from across the river? Cuomo Urges Broad Limits to N.Y. Public Pensions. After the previous give backs, Cuomo is still very concerned about New York City public pensions. I guess the "Democrat" missed when the City Comptroller Said pension costs will fall after 2016. I know his ears are plugged when constituents shout "Tax the rich!"
Judy Cinnamond had a history to remember and recalled once being valued in is a story that ends with rejection. Our students, our teachers, the people who pick up our garbage, our firefighters and police officers are no longer good enough for out elected officials. Public workers seem to be running out of supporters and children are going to be the biggest losers.
NBC can stand up for those workers and point out that we are losing our good government workers. Republicans hate the workers and the Democrats, not much better. Thank you Lester Holt. Thank you John Yang. Thank you NBC Nightly News. And especially thank you Judy Cinnamond.