If SCOTUS Rules In Favor of Janus, How Can NJEA Members Free Themselves From No-Longer-Mandatory Fees?

Rumor has it that the Supreme Court will issue a decision today [correction: not today, maybe Thursday] in Janus v. AFSCME, which pits Mark Janus, a child support specialist in the Illinois Department of Healthcare of Family Services who has to pay an agency fee of $45 per paycheck, against the local chapter of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, of which he is not a member. Janus argues that bargaining with …

Are the Project Veritas/NJEA Videos an Anomaly or the Canary in the Coal Mine?

Last week at the Statehouse in Trenton, New Jersey legislators moved far beyond the usual debates about our education system. Instead of quotidian discussions on issues like the flaws in our school funding formula or high school graduation requirements or student assessments, the Senate Education and Labor Committees held a special joint hearing on the unimaginable: the safety of New Jersey’s public school children and the behavior of teacher union leaders. Anchoring these hearing were …

Karp the PARCC-Slayer

Stan Karp, Director of of Secondary Reform for New Jersey’s Education Law Center, had an op-ed in NJ Spotlight on Friday that was rife with errors. As a public service here are four corrections. But first let’s examine Karp the PARCC Slayer’s arguments. According to our test-averse warrior, N.J.’s  high school diploma requirement — students must pass the Algebra 1 and 10th grade English state standardized tests in order to graduate, with portfolio options for students …

Sweeney, Ruiz & Madden Announce Committee Hearings on Troubling Videos of Teachers Union Officials

A quick response from New Jersey legislative leaders (see here for context): TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senate Education Committee Chairwoman M. Teresa Ruiz and Senate Labor Committee Chairman Fred H. Madden today announced that they will hold joint committee hearings in the wake of online videos that appear to show teachers union officials suggesting that teachers should not report assaults against students, including an alleged sexual assault. “These union officials appear to be advocating …

Two Teacher Union Presidents, Per These Videos, Excuse the Inexcusable

The following is a letter sent by Patricia Morgan of JerseyCAN and Shelley Skinner of Better Education for Kids to Senator Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), Chair of the State Senate Education Committee, regarding two videos released last week. The first (below) features the President of the Hamilton Education Association and the second (below that) features the President of the Union City Education Association. Both expose what Morgan and Skinner describe as a teacher disciplinary system “vulnerable …

An Open Letter from NJEA Member to NJEA Leaders

Dear NJEA leadership, My name is Andre Halaw; I teach English at South Brunswick High School and for the past 17 years I have been a proud NJEA member. Until now. Alongside my fellow public educators, for the past eight years I have endured Chris Christie’s attacks on public education, patiently waiting for a change in state leadership and educational policy. I voted for Governor Murphy and was optimistic that he would address the gross budget inequities …

How Deep Does Charter School Animus Run in Trenton? Ask the Head of the Trenton Teachers Union.

State unions are typically united. When the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) speaks, it speaks for all of its local bargaining units. But a recent series of events that revolves around a charter school in Trenton has disrupted that unanimity. The charter school that has fomented this atypical public display of discord is the International Academy of Trenton Charter School (IAT), now in its fourth year of operation with 700 students, grades K-5. After a …

Dear Gov. Murphy and Comm. Repollet: NJ Voters Want You to Maintain State Standardized Tests

The public school advocacy group called We Raise NJ just released a the results of a recent poll exploring NJ residents’ views on  current course content standards, aligned tests, and school quality.  According to a press release, “the poll — conducted by Global Strategy Group — revealed that voters, especially those of color, believe strongly in high standards, aligned assessments, and importance of being prepared for college and career.” This is a hot topic in …

When Politics Undermines Scholarship: A New “Analysis” from Julia Sass Rubin and Mark Weber

A new report is out called “New Jersey Charter Schools: A Data-Driven View – 2018 Update, Part I” by Julia Sass Rubin and Mark Weber. This study, draped with a Rutgers University banner, purports to be a scholarly analysis proving that charter schools are an untenable fiscal burden on traditional districts and enroll proportionally fewer special education students, English Language Learners, and low-income students than their sending district public schools. The report concludes with recommendations …

NJEA Shows Phil Murphy Who’s Boss: The Short Tenureship of Paula White

Late yesterday Star-Ledger editor Tom Moran had a scoop: Governor Phil Murphy abruptly rescinded the appointment of Assistant Commissioner of Education Paula White a week after the State Board of Education had unanimously confirmed her as Acting Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollet’s right-hand woman. The question is “why.” Moran’s answer is that, while White’s credentials are impeccable — an M.A. from Columbia Teachers College in Educational Leadership, eight years teaching  low-income students of color in …