Nine senators flip-flop on responsible funding
Despite voting overwhelmingly for it last June, the Senate today was unable to override Gov. Christie’s veto of S-2265.  That bill would have required the state to make responsible quarterly pension payments, and would have taken away the Governor’s ability to promise a payment at the beginning of the budget year then break his promise at the last minute, as he did last year. Read More

January 2015

10

NJEA Priority Schools Winter Conference

23

NJEA Executive Committee Meeting/CPC

24

NJEA Delegate Assembly Meeting

INSIGHT & OPINION
NEWS
FOCUS NJEA

Commission Impossible?

On The TableAfter sitting on the assignment for four months, Governor Christie finally appointed the 9-member Commission on the Use of Student Assessments in New Jersey, leaving it with a scant 7 weeks – including the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks – to issue a preliminary report. Whether it will be possible for the commission to hold public hearings, take and digest expert testimony and research, and actually issue a report that fulfills its mission is uncertain.  There’s certainly a lot of skepticism among the education community. Read More

EDITORIAL

Is there a psychometrician in the house?
If policymakers wonder why educators are so skeptical about the use of student test scores for evaluation, one brief exchange at the NJEA Convention illustrated a big reason for that distrust. During the State Board of Education (SBOE) Forum, educators asked several questions about the upcoming PARCC exams. Halfway through the session, a young middle school teacher asked how student growth could be accurately calculated as New Jersey moves from the NJASK to the PARCC assessments. “I’m not a psychometrician,” said Assistant Commissioner of Education Peter Shulman, “but I’m going to do my best to answer.” Huh? Read More

SnappShots
Have you submitted a photo using the NJEA app? Check out the SNappSHOTS gallery to see if your photo made the cut!

MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

Tracey Espiritu
Photo credit: Steve Hockstein, NJ Advance Media
NJEA member wins Milken Educator Award
Tracy Espiritu, a teacher at the Dr. Albert Einstein Academy - School 29 in Elizabeth, and a member of the Elizabeth EA, recently received the Milken Educator Award, a $25,000 prize given to exemplary elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists.  Read More

Judy ZirkleNJEA member named one of top 25 women in dentistry
Judy Zirkle, a  member from the Cumberland County Voc-Tech Education Association, has been making a difference in the lives of Cumberland County residents her entire career. As a native to the area, Zirkle knows firsthand the extreme need and oral health concerns in the region, and she has been working to provide quality care to those who would otherwise go without. She has been named one of the 25 women who have impacted the dental industry in 2014.
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Steven Quinn, a mathematics and science educator, and co-applicant, Hielde Kress, of Milford School in Milford, New Jersey, have received a $5,000 Student Achievement Grant from the NEA Foundation to help students monitor the Delaware River for cleanliness and sustainability for its natural inhabitants. Read More

PARTNERSHIPS

RutgersRUTGERS TEACHER APPRECIATION
Rutgers Athletics would like to invite all teachers and their families out to the men's basketball game against Penn State on Saturday, Jan. 3. Learn how to get your discounted tickets.

Michael & Olive Giles

SPOTLIGHT ESP
NJEA and BEN-FM have partnered to educate the public about the important role Educational Support Professionals play in our schools and in our communities. Each month, BEN-FM features an NJEA ESP member in a 60-second radio ad talking about the contributions they make in their students’ education. Read More

INNOVATION IN EDUCATION

Digital Learning Day
Imagine traveling the world and connecting with experts on a multitude of topics without leaving the classroom. Thanks to Google Hangout, students at Edith Ort Thomas Elementary School in Frenchtown participate in Digital Learning Day. Read More

Other Blogs/Sites

Headline News

On the Web

ClassWish.org is a nonprofit organization that lets anybody make tax-deductible contributions to fund any resources for any school or any teacher in the country. Teachers, administrators and officers of teacher-parent organizations can create a Wish List of the resources their students need to succeed, and supporters can contribute toward school-wide needs at any K-12 school or towards specific teacher needs. More On-the-Web resources

Pension boards sue state over funding failure

Seek to hold Christie accountable for “sins of political expediency”

TPAF Letters
The Boards of Trustees that oversee the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) and other New Jersey public employee pension systems have filed suit against the state over Gov. Christie’s refusal to make legally required payments into the funds. In a statement sent to the International Business Times, the chairmen of the boards harshly criticized the Governor’s actions. Read More

MORE NEWS & PUBLICATIONS

Senate confirms Hespe

David Hespe
Today, the New Jersey Senate unanimously approved the nomination of David Hespe as Commissioner of Education.  Mr. Hespe has been serving as Acting Commissioner since March.  During his tenure he has demonstrated a willingness to engage in conversation with NJEA and to listen to educators on critical issues affecting our public schools. Read More

MORE NEWS & PUBLICATIONS

Make your voice heard

Speak out on evaluation and testing

State Board of Ed Lobby Day
On Jan. 7, the State Board of Education will have open topic testimony. This is your chance to testify on any topic of concern to public education, especially about evaluation, PARCC, special education, etc. It is critical that board members hear from NJEA members about what’s happening in schools. Read More

MORE ISSUES & ACTION

Important changes to the Teacher of the Year Program

Governor’s Educator of the Year program altered to honor teachers, service professionals

The NJ Department of Education (DOE) has combined the Teacher of the Year program with the Governor’s Teacher/Educational Services Professional Recognition Program. This year, schools can select one teacher and one educational services professional to be recognized at the school level. Read More

MORE NEWS & PUBLICATIONS

Pasi Sahlberg calls equity key to student achievement

Pasi Sahlberg
Finnish educator and scholar Pasi Sahlberg said that Finns were as surprised as anyone to learn that their students were Number 1 in performance on the standardized assessment most commonly used to compare student academic achievement across the industrialized world. In fact, they initially doubted the results. Read More

MORE TEACHING & LEARNING

Interested in presenting at the 2015 NJEA Convention?

High Tech Hall
The Professional Development and Instructional Issues division of NJEA is now accepting presenter proposals for the 2015 NJEA Convention (Nov. 5-6, 2015). All proposals to present at the NJEA Convention and at High Tech Hall must be submitted electronically by Feb. 1. Read More

MORE TEACHING & LEARNING

Members stand strong for public education at 160th annual NJEA Convention

NJEA Convention 2014
Some came to the NJEA Convention for the over 300 professional development workshops and programs that are the hallmark of the largest gathering of educators in the world—tens of thousands of them. Others came for High Tech Hall, for the plenary sessions with world-class speakers, or to consult with publishers, authors and accomplished educators. Still others came to share ideas and strategies with their colleagues from across the state. Read More

MORE TEACHING & LEARNING

NJEA statement on Christie’s testing commission

NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer issued the following statement in response to Governor Christie’s announcement this afternoon of his appointees to the Study Commission on the Use of Student Assessments in New Jersey: "The concerns that led to the creation of this commission first surfaced a year ago with the initial PARCC pilot programs, and those concerns are paramount to the parents of New Jersey." Read More

MORE NEWS & PUBLICATIONS

Three-quarters of NJEA PAC-endorsed federal candidates win elections

Local endorsement produce big results

With 56% of the vote, US Senator Cory Booker easily won re-election over his opponent, Jeff Bell. While the party balance of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation remains unchanged at 6-6, three new faces will join them in Washington in January. Read More

MORE ISSUES & ACTION

Steinhauer on TIME tenure story:

Misguided, poorly reported and negligent

Rotten Apples
NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer released the following statement in response to the Nov. 3, 2014, cover story in TIME regarding teacher tenure: “TIME’s misguided and poorly-reported cover article attacking due process for educators deserves the scorn it has received from educators and those who understand what tenure really is. Read More

MORE NEWS & PUBLICATIONS

Human Rights Celebration

2014 Human Rights Celebration
NJEA’s premier black-tie event, the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Celebration, will take place on Saturday, Jan. 17 at the Hilton East Brunswick. Register by Dec. 1. Read More

MORE NEWS & PUBLICATIONS

Charter Schools

What is NEA's opinion about Charter Schools? While visiting New Jersey on her back to school tour, NEA President Eskelsen García explained the NEA position.

Evaluation Resources

DON'T MISS

VOTING REGISTRATION FOR
NON-CLASSROOM TEACHERS

All NJEA members who are not classroom teachers or active supportive (ESP) members must identify themselves in order to vote in the appropriate unit in NJEA’s spring elections. A “non-classroom teacher” is any person who is certified, where required, and a major part of whose time is spent in direct contact with students or who performs allied work that places that person on a local salary schedule for teachers. Download the form and send it in by Jan. 15, 2015. Read more

HONORING EDUCATORS WHO TEACH AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY
The New Jersey Historical Commission is accepting nominations for the Mildred Barry Garvin Prize, an award of $1,500 to a New Jersey teacher, guidance counselor, or school librarian for outstanding teaching of black American history at any grade level between kindergarten and high school. Nomination deadline is Jan. 5. Learn more

Sesame Place
FREE ADMISSION FOR TEACHERS IN 2015
Sesame Place is offering credentialed K-12 school teachers in PA, NJ, DE and NY a FREE 2015 Teacher Appreciation Pass good toward general admission during the 2015 season. Offer expires 12/31/14. Details

Kids in Concert 2014

SPOTLIGHT

NJ teachers are Youth Art Month Award winners
Two NJ art educators have been selected by the Council for Art Education as recipients of the Claire Flanagan Memorial (Grand) Award, one of the 2014 Youth Art Month Awards. Based on submissions from participating states, The Council for Art Education Board of Directors voted to recognize Patricia Branche, South River Education Association member and Teri Trumpbour, a member of the Manasquan Education Association, among the Youth Art Month Chairpersons for outstanding participation in their states’ 2013/2014 Youth Art Month Program.

Read More

CLASSROOM CLOSE-UP, NJ

Classroom Close-Up, NJ

NJEA’s television show is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Visit the website to learn more about the Emmy-winning, 30-minute weekly series that focuses on the great things happening in New Jersey's public school. Visit the video library to see thousands of stories that have aired over the past two decades.

Read More

MEMBER BENEFITS

NEA Complimentary Life Insurance
Did you know that all NJEA members have free life insurance through NEA? All you have to do is identify your beneficiary! You may also purchase additional life insurance through NEA.

NEA Savings Program

Member Benefits

MEMBER DISCOUNTS

Your NJEA membership card is your ticket to discounts on merchandise, insurance, entertainment, travel, and personal legal services.

ENTER WEB GIVEAWAY

NJREA

2015 NJREA ELECTIONS
This spring NJREA members will elect officers, NJEA Delegate Assembly (DA) members, and NJEA DA alternates. In addition, members will elect delegates to the NEA-Retired Conference and NEA Representative Assembly (RA). Sign in for regulations, guidelines and nominating petitions. Read More

SCHOOL BUZZ

Report says New Jersey has the top school system in the country
New Jersey has the best school system in the country, according to a recent report. Wallet Hub released its rankings of the best and worst school systems in the country. To compile its list, the finance website looked at a number of factors, including test scores, dropout rates and pupil to teacher ratios. The Garden State earned the top honors, followed by Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire, respectively.

Read More