NJEA President Marie Blistan spent yesterday morning touring the Eugene A. Tighe Middle School in Margate City. The Tighe School was named a National Blue Ribbon school in 2017. The honor is bestowed only on 342 schools across the nation for a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Blistan visited the classrooms and congratulated the collective hard work of the members of the Margate Education Association (MEA).
The morning’s visit, organized by NJEA Field Representative Myron Plotkin and the MEA President Sherry Scott, began with a robust discussion about school funding and local politics with Blistan, Scott, and the superintendent of schools, John DiNicola. From there, Blistan and Scott toured almost every classroom in the school. As they made their way from room to room, Blistan spoke with NJEA members about their classroom practices and their vision for the union.
Blistan ended her visit by spending time in the staff lunch room with the majority of the MEA members who teach at the Tighe School. The group shared their thoughts on various union-related topics as well as state-level politics. Blistan answered questions and talked about everything from school funding and Chapter 78, to the future of PARCC in New Jersey after Governor Murphy’s election in the fall.
In the end, Blistan urged the members to get involved and to help “build the bench” to begin the change process. “NJEA is not – and has never been – an organization that only endorses candidates from one political party. We flip seats around the state based on where potential legislators stand on our issues, but it starts with you” she explained to the group before they returned to class. “If we want to make a difference, we have to start acting differently. You must call and meet with your elected representatives. You should consider running for public office yourself – school board, town committee, town council. We can change our future, but only when we are directly involved in the decision making process.”