NJ Gov Christie to Teacher: You Can Quit If You Don’t Like Pay


New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie told a disgruntled teacher that if she doesn’t like the pay, she doesn’t “have to do it.”

Christie was speaking to a small crowd in a church gymnasium in Rutherford on Tuesday when the Bergen County Record caught the exchange between Kearny teacher Rita Wilson and the governor.

Wilson claimed that if she were getting paid only three dollars an hour for the 30 students she teaches, her salary would be $83,000 a year, a much higher sum than her current take.

“You’re getting more than that if you include the cost of your benefits,” Christie pointed out.

The teacher responded by saying that she has a master’s degree and that her current salary isn’t compensating her for the value of her higher education as well as her experience.

To that, the governor responded: “Well, you know then that you don’t have to do it.”

Christie recently finished a round of negotiations with the teachers unions in which he got them to agree to a salary freeze and 1.5 percent increase in employee benefits in order to avoid budget cuts to the education system.

(Source: Politico / NBC New York)


  1. Hum? $83K and summers off… No, wait — full health benefits. As compared to, carrying around a BlackBerry, working after havdalah and on Sundays, I have to pay my own health benefits. And, I have not seen a salary increase in years thanks to the people around the world that keep pushing my pay lower.

    I should have been a teacher.
    Governor (609-292-6000) You’re doing a great job.

  2. Cry me a river. People are laid off; people are getting salaries cut and the teachers are complaining. I am for good teachers and very good pay for them; however today is
    different we can’t afford their benefit package, retirement, glasses, dental, etc etc. I work 60 to 65 hours aweek and can’t afford what they have plus only working 180 days a year about 50-60 days less than industry

  3. Attn Jerry: If you read the article carefully you would see that $83,000 is “a much higher sum than her current take.” But I agree with you in principal. There is no reason that the unions should be immune from the current economic situation.10% of people dont have jobs. I highly doubt the other 90% had any significant salary increases in the last two years. The unions should be no different. Just be happy that your union status almost guarantees that you cant be fired with substanitial cause.

  4. Listen, I agree that teachers shouldn’t be any more immune to the economic situation than the rest of us. However, as a general policy, we go about teacher compensation in a befuddling way. We should want to pay teachers of our children a LOT, to ensure attraction and retention of quality educators. If there was one category of employees that I would single out for more pay, it would be teachers. And even though you send your children to private schools, the education received in public schools has dramatic effects on society and its future as a whole. So you benefit from this as well.

  5. 2pence, you got to be joking. I am a teacher. You have absolutely no idea what goes on in public education nor at the funding level. What I see that you repeated was the typical line that the unions such as the NEA constantly argues to get more money for their members, right?

  6. for your information, this teacher actually makes about $4,000 per year! her salary is public record, so she is crying crocodile tears and lies to boot.

  7. Your Sister;

    Where do you teach? At what level? Public/Private?
    In fact I have a very good idea of what goes on in public education, as 5 of my best friends are currently teachers in the public school system (not New York).

    What I made was a general policy argument for paying public school teachers highly, due to the importance I ascribe to their tasks. Even if I had no idea what goes on in public education, it doesn’t matter–what goes on has nothing to do with that value judgment whatsoever. I am anti-union generally, so any similarity between my statements and those of unions are coincidental.

    An anecdote: a public school near where i grew up paid its best teachers VERY handsomely (into six figures). As a result, it has recruited and retained talent, and happens to be known as one of the best public high schools in the country.

  8. According to public records, her cash salary is $86489 but is around 100K with benefits!! This means she is making OVER the 83k she was complaining about. I honestly feel since she is a teacher and she doesn’t know simple math, SHE BE FIRED NOW!!!

  9. Mark:

    If that is true, it does seem like she doesn’t have much to complain about. Then again, I say this knowing that that kind of cash would allow me to live MORE than comfortably in my locale. I can’t speak for cost of living for anyone else (though it’s hard to imagine that this would be considered “meager” anywhere)