Take ActionChristie lying about healthcare  premiums

Chris Christie is up to his old tricks again, lying to NJEA members in an attempt to divide our membership.

As you may know, NJEA and the Christie administration have been at odds regarding a state-proposed Medicare Advantage change to retiree medical benefits that NJEA opposes because we believe it is both illegal and likely harmful to retirees. While some other unions have agreed to the change, NJEA has refused, leading to a legal challenge by the state. 

Recently, Chris Christie sent a letter to some members saying that because of NJEA’s refusal to give into his demands, our active members will have a larger increase in their premiums than other public employees.  That is a blatant lie.

The premiums paid by active employees in the School Employees’ Health Benefits Plan are not related in any way to the level of benefits provided to retired school employees. Whatever the rate increase is for active employees in the SEHBP this year, it has no connection to whether or not NJEA accepts the state’s demand to move all Medicare eligible retirees into a Medicare Advantage plan. Chris Christie knows this, but he is lying to you anyway.

Don’t be fooled. NJEA members still remember the open letter he released during his first campaign for governor where he promised “I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor.” When we get letters from the governor seeking to divide us, we know better than to believe him.

Send Gov. Christie an email telling him that you don’t believe his lies and that you won’t let him divide you from your union colleagues.

Assembly to vote on bill that would eliminate student test scores from teacher evaluation

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A-4122 (Caride, Jasey) which would eliminate the use of test scores from teacher evaluation as required in TEACHNJ, was released from the Assembly Education Committee on September 19 and has been posted for a floor vote in the Assembly on Thursday, September 29.

By sponsoring this bill , Chairwoman Caride is following the trend established by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  ESSA, which replaced the failed No Child Left Behind Act, removes the requirement that states use standardized test scores in teacher evaluation.  ESSA requires states use multiple measures and a new indicator of student success.  ESSA allows states to move away from the high-stakes use of test scores for both teachers and students.

Contact your Assembly members and ask them to vote yes on A-4122.  Tell them high-stakes tests hurt students and teachers, and take time away from learning that matters.  Please support A-4122.

Tell Gov. Christie: Follow the law and fill the seat!

Take ActionOne of the few protections for school employees under Chapter 78 includes the creation of a Plan Design Committee (PDC) which operates in conjunction with the School Employees’ Health Benefits Commission (SEHBC). The role of the PDC is to review all plans offered in the School Employees’ Health Benefits Plan (SEHBP) and make any appropriate changes. The SEHBC cannot make changes to benefits without the approval of the PDC. Only the PDC can change the plan design.

Gov. Christie is trying to force a vote through the SEHBC to move retirees from their current health benefit program into a Medicare Advantage program without following the process put in place by Ch. 78 that requires such changes to go through the PDC.

Even worse, Gov. Christie refuses to fill the seat on the SEHBC left vacant when a union representative passed away over a year ago, despite the fact that he has the names of potential replacements. That vacancy gives his appointees a majority on the Commission and leaves labor underrepresented.

Email Gov. Christie. Tell him to follow the law and fill the vacant Commission seat.

Tell the NJ Assembly: Thank you for keeping your promise!

Take Action

In February, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Senate President Steve Sweeney attended the NJEA Legislative Conference and promised NJEA members that they would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot this year that would allow voters to demand responsible pension funding by the state.

Only one of them kept his promise. On June 27, the NJ Assembly posted and passed ACR-109, while the Senate instead chose to play games and wait until it was too late.

Please email the 50 assembly men and women who kept their promise and supported the pension funding resolution.   Tell them that you appreciate their action and are glad that at least there are some honest leaders in Trenton who keep their word.