Teacher's Union Chief Declares: 'Life's Not Always Fair'
Looking Out for the Children: An Argument Made is Not an Argument Proved
Union chief with $300G-plus salary on
school voucher debate: 'Life's not always fair' to poor
A New Jersey teachers union chief whose salary tops
$300,000 is under fire for saying in a recent interview that "life's not always
fair" while arguing against vouchers to send poor students to private
New Jersey Education Association Executive Director
Vincent Giordano made the comment on the local "New Jersey Capitol Report"
program over the weekend. During the interview, he was challenged by the host on
why low-income families should not have the same options as other families when
their child is in a failing school.
"Those parents should have exactly the same options
and they do. We don't say that you can't take your kid out of the public school.
We would argue not and we would say 'let's work more closely and more
harmoniously,'" Giordano said.
When told some families cannot afford to finance the
shift to private school without government help, Giordano said: "Well, you know,
life's not always fair and I'm sorry about that."
The interview clip swiftly spread on the web, along with
reminders about Giordano's healthy salary.
The Newark Star-Ledger reported in 2010 that his
salary was nearly $422,000, and total compensation roughly
deferred compensation and other benefits are counted.
NJEA spokesman Steve Baker, though, said those
reports are not accurate. He said the director's salary is "in the three-hundred
thousands, and the low three-hundred thousands."
The NJEA has since put out a lengthy statement
clarifying the director's remarks.
"While Mr. Giordano acknowledges that his choice of
words may be open to misinterpretation, his intent was to make the point that
providing vouchers to a select few students is not the way to address the
challenges faced by urban school districts," the statement said.
Giordano went on to say that the union's "record of
support for urban education and disadvantaged children is unimpeachable."
He said the union does oppose vouchers, but only
because "they will take resources from disadvantaged public schools and only
exacerbate the challenges faced by students in those communities."
Giordano said the NJEA supports better funding for