I was so pleased and proud when Education Week once again named New Jersey’s public schools the best in the nation for the second year in a row. We have often been among the top states, but it was so gratifying to see all of our hard work, advocacy on behalf of our students and colleagues, talent, training, and tenacity pay off with the top spot.

As we face new challenges, this achievement is a bright spot that I hope will encourage and motivate us all to continue the excellent work we have done and to grow and change as educators and as advocates. We can only be number one in the nation when we are number one for every student in our schools. In these most challenging times, we know that our members are worried, concerned, and anxious about the unknowns of this year. But we also know that our members are going to excel, as they always do, in their caring and dedication to providing a quality education for all students. 

In order to be excellent, we need the support of administrators, parents and public officials. None of us wants to see our hard work eroded by public policy that does not meet the needs of our students or our staff. That is why political engagement is such a vital component in building a truly excellent system of public education—and it must be felt at all levels of government.

In this issue, you will learn more about NJEA PAC’s endorsed candidates for federal and state elections. The 125-member NJEA Political Action Committee is a committee like any other at NJEA: it is composed of NJEA members who interview and evaluate candidates before determining who will best represent the interests of our students, our members and our families.

I’m proud to share these endorsements with you because they represent a lot of hard work, research and engagement by NJEA members, for NJEA members, to help you exercise your fundamental right to vote.

There are many things that go into your decision on how you cast your vote; NJEA is, as always, a resource to help you make informed decisions. We know the impact that elected officials have on our country, our state and our communities. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about why these candidates have earned NJEA PAC’s endorsement.

Officers online

Marie Blistan

Facebook

@Marie.Blistan: NJEA AMISTAD TASK FORCE recommendations & next steps—making progress. NJEA member Tamar LaSure-Owens, Sec-Treas. Steve Beatty and staff Al Beaver, Gary Melton, & Steve Swetsky meeting with McGraw Hill regarding the role of textbooks, primary sources, and how we can collaborate to move the TRUTH forward!

On Sept. 10, Marie Blistan shared an image from an online meeting that she and NJEA members and staff had with textbook distributor McGraw Hill. The purpose of the meeting was to evaluate and reimagine the role that textbooks and primary sources have in perpetuating false, overly rosy elements of our nation’s past, particular when it comes to teaching about slavery. The meeting is part of NJEA’s ongoing work toward social, racial and economic justice for New Jerseyans. 

Sean M. Spiller

Facebook

@SpillerforNJEA: Happy Labor Day… and thank you!

On Sept. 7, Sean M. Spiller wished all NJEA members a happy Labor Day in a video he posted on Facebook. “As we do every year, it’s time for us to celebrate labor,” Spiller said. “From shifting to distance teaching and learning on a moment’s notice, to fighting to ensure a safe return to students and staff, this year, educators and labor everywhere deserve a very special thank you.”

Steve Beatty

Facebook

@Steve BeattyNJEA: The governor today has signed into law S-2302/A-4140—our subcontracting bill—the results of a long fought organizing campaign by so many on every level. Now our ESP brothers and sisters have not only gained due process rights, but protection from outsourcing (firing) without negotiations. With that, our three biggest legislative priorities are done. We did that. You all did that. As long a struggle as it was for years, we have achieved Chapter 78 relief and job justice for all of our ESPs. The most important title in our organization is member. And today, I’m especially proud to be one. Congrats to all of us!

Steve Beatty celebrated the signing of a Job Justice bill in September. The new law will prevent school districts from privatizing their employees during an active collective bargaining agreement. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the third and final bill that NJEA members worked for on their #FixTheUnfairness campaign, capping off a historic, member-driven campaign with an important legislative win.

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