Celebrating the achievements of public education

Every month has holidays and observances, but November is special because it contains American Education Week, a time for us to reflect upon and celebrate one of America’s greatest achievements: a system of public education unsurpassed in the world in its ability to level the playing field and provide children with the opportunity to achieve their potential.

American Education Week celebrates public education at every level from Pre-K to Post-12, including community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. It recognizes the contributions of educational support professionals, and sets aside Wednesday, Nov. 15 as a day to celebrate the essential role they play in creating great public schools.

No system is perfect, and as NJEA members, we are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure that inequities in the system are identified and addressed, but we have so much of which to be proud.

In this issue, we highlight the value of arts education for teenagers in “Connect, Communicate and Express: The New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival” on Page 22. Every child, including teenagers struggling to find their place in the world and understand who they are and what they want to be, can benefit from the creative and emotional outlet that the arts provide.

Research has long upheld the practice of encouraging play in young children. In “A Joyful Journey to Play in K” on Page 26, you’ll learn more about the importance of play in the academic and social-emotional lives of children.

The story of the International Academy of Trenton Charter School Education Association (IATCSE) and how its members organized a union to help them demand and protect their legal rights is featured on Page 30. At a time when unions are under increasing attack, it’s valuable to reflect on how few protections are available to educators who go it alone.

We also hear from three members about why they are taking an active role in electing pro-public education candidates to help maintain and build upon the successes of our great public schools. You can read about them on Page 20. Surely, no one can doubt the impact that elected officials have on the quality of our schools the lives of our students and members.

As always, thank you for all that you do for public education. You deserve much more than one week each year to celebrate your hard work, expertise, and achievements, but know that your union and professional association always recognizes the work that you do and the impact that you have on our students and our future.

Officers Online

Marie Blistan


@MarieBlistan: Stan Karp & author Linda Christensen. Racial and social justice at Learning Symposium. #RethinkingSchools.

On Oct. 14, NJEA President Marie Blistan tweeted a photo of Stan Karp and Linda Christensen, who work with Rethinking Schools (rethinkingschools.org). Christensen, author of Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Teaching About Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word, among many other titles, presented the keynote address at the NJEA Teaching and Learning Symposium that day.


Sean M. Spiller


@SpillerForNJEA: Go @PhilMurphyNJ! Showing why he’s what NJ needs. #NJGovdebate

On Oct. 10, NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller was in the audience at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center to witness the first televised debate between Democrat Phil Murphy and Republican Kim Guadagno. Ambassador Phil Murphy is the NJEA PAC-endorsed candidate for governor.


Steve Beatty


@SteveBeatty928: Great day getting to meet, and listen to, @JohnKerry as he lays out the case for electing @PhilMurphyNJ! #GOTV @NJEA

On Oct. 11, NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty greeted Secretary John Kerry at a VFW hall in Clifton. Beatty and Kerry were there with Ambassador Phil Murphy and Speaker Sheila Oliver to support them in their bid to become the next governor and lieutenant governor of New Jersey.

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