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Join the Union

AFTNJ’s objective is to promote state wide organization and unionization of public and private school teachers, paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and staff; other workers organized in conformity with More »

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Prekindergarten – 12

From the state’s largest school district to small privates, AFTNJ stands up for New Jersey’s students. Our members teach early childhood education to prepare kids for school, special education and every topic More »

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Higher Education

The American Federation of Teachers New Jersey is the largest higher education union in the state, representing full and part-time faculty, all levels of administrative, professional and supervisory staff, graduate workers, and More »

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AFTNJ Activism

AFTNJ members advocate for education and stand up for social justice. More »

Newark educators and students call for community schools

Take Action for Pensions: Gov. Christie Broke His Promise

We are calling on Governor Chris Christie to work with legislative leadership to pay into the pension system—as his legislation requires—and  fund public services the state’s citizens need,” said AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera. “A balanced approach to budgeting means asking millionaires and corporations to pay their fair share while investing in programs and services that will benefit all New Jersey now and in the future. People depend on the strength of our schools, hospitals, environment and the economy so we need our leaders to cooperate and collaborate—not bully and blame.”

“Gov. Christie has broken the public trust,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “Three years ago, he struck a deal with the Legislature that was premised on shared sacrifice. And teachers, firefighters and nurses made that sacrifice. They paid their share. But Christie is refusing to pay his, and now these workers’ dignity and security in retirement hangs in the balance. That’s why they’re in court—because a real leader doesn’t go back on his word, especially when the livelihoods of so many hardworking Americans are at stake.”

Call Chris Christie today at 609-292-6000 or click here, and tell him hardworking New Jerseyans are doing their part… …keeping their promises… And it’s time for him to keep his.

Newark Student Union #NPSWalkout2015

Signs, sounds and scenes from Friday's #NPSWalkout2015 #OurNewark Newark Students Union The Newark Parents Union Parents Unified for Local School Education (PULSE) Bob Braun's Ledger Save Our Schools New Jersey Alliance for Newark Public Schools Newark Teachers Union AFT – American Federation of Teachers

Posted by AFT New Jersey on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Christie’s Proposed 10-Year Pension Payment Ramp-Up Could Cost NJ Billions

Governor’s own law gives him seven years to get pension payments in line, but he says he needs 10. What he’s not saying is how costs would balloon over time

By John Reitmeyer

While lawmakers await a ruling from New Jersey’s Supreme Court on whether the state has to stay committed to a plan to prop up the public-employee pension system with a series of escalating payments over a seven-year term, Gov. Chris Christie’s state treasurer is continuing to make the case for stretching those payments over 10 years.

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Christie Seeks To Reshape School Accountability Mandates In Federal Waiver

By John Mooney

Education Law Center says proposal would give too much leeway, with less openness, over state-controlled urban schools

The Christie administration has asked the federal government to allow some changes in the state’s accountability system for its most troubled schools, including the administration’s own state-controlled schools.

[...]

Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson has come under especially heavy criticism for her moves, with widespread protests over her classification of so-called “turnaround schools,” including a downtown march involving as many as 2,000 high school students on Friday.

The Education Law Center last week sent a letter urging the U.S. Department of Education to reject the proposed new classification system for the state-run districts, saying it would affect more than 200 schools overall. It said such an exemption would allow for initiatives without any regard for federal or state guidelines.

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Newark Students Protest Superintendent’s School Policy

Newark, NJ—Thousands of students walked out of school in the latest protest against Superintendent Cami Anderson and the district’s plans to designate an additional eight schools as “turnaround” schools in the next school year.

The designation means that, according to officials with the Newark Teachers Union, teachers are required to sign agreements that mandate they work a longer school day, go through two additional weeks of professional development in the summer and work on multiple Saturdays.

In the accompanying video, we interviewed John Abeigon, director of organizing for the Newark Teachers Union Local 481 and an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, about why so many of Newark’s public school students took action against the district’s plans.

“Because they’ve had enough of Cami Anderson’s misadministration of the Newark public schools. She continues to hand them over to her friends to the charter school for-profit business. Just today they announced at East Side High School an $800,000 budget cut which terminates five teachers. So you can’t say on one hand that we want to turn this school around and improve performance while letting go of the people who are responsible for delivering that,” said Abeigon.

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Kean, UCC adjuncts feel disrespected

Part-time teachers have similar work load as tenured staff, make far less money

By Cheryl Hehl, Staff Writer

UNION COUNTY, NJ — The role of adjunct professors in higher education is continually expanding, but these non-tenured employees at both Kean University and Union County College claim while their numbers continue to grow, they are not respected or valued by administration.

The percentage of adjunct professors versus full-time faculty at universities and colleges in New Jersey and throughout the nation has increased from 22 percent in 1970 to 43 percent in 1999. Although there were no recent updates available, locally educators expect recent percentages to be even higher, but that does little to quell the rising tide of resentment felt by Kean and Union County College adjuncts.

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Students Say Record Protest Crowd Shows Strong Resistance to Superintendent’s Reforms

By David Cruz, Correspondent

It was billed as the largest student protest in Newark Public Schools history. That’s a tough one to verify, but for many a seasoned observer today’s student walkout represented the strongest show of student solidarity in the state takeover era, more than 20 years now. They came from Weequahic and Shabazz, University and East Side highs — almost 2,000 in all — many defying a letter sent to parents warning that the protests were a “violation of our discipline code” and could result in “detention to suspension, as well as exclusion from celebratory end-of-year events.”

“Our school in general just basically told us that if we walk out we’re gonna get suspended, but we’re trying to save our school and we’re the future, so we all have to stick together when we come together for a good cause,” said one East Side High School student.

With scores of volunteers from the group New Jersey Communities United directing demonstrators and urging press to talk to official representatives only, the rally had the feel of a union-organized event.

One of the criticisms that has been levied against the movement is that it’s not so much student-led, as it is union-led, a mindset that doesn’t sit well with teacher’s union Vice President John Abeigon. “There’s no truth to that, whatsoever,” he said. “You know that’s an insult to this Newark Students Union. These are intelligent kids. These are a product of the Newark Public Schools. They’re aware of their American history. And they know that when you’ve tired of signing petitions, tired of representing down in Trenton and lobbying and legislating and nothing comes to pass and people continue to ignore you, well, your next step, rightfully, is to peacefully protest.”

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Mediation the next step after teachers’ contract talks stall in Garfield

By Kristie Cattafi, Staff Writer, Community News (Garfield Edition)

The Garfield Federation of Teachers (GFT) group is at an impasse and will now seek mediation after working without a contract for a year.

The contract expired on June 30, 2014. The largest impact without a contract due to the laws in New Jersey is not getting a raise, Garfield Federation of Teachers Local 3977 President Rob Barbier explained. He said on Jan. 1 the health insurance rate went up and they had to contribute more money without any salary increase.

Despite productive negotiations between the Garfield Board of Education and the Garfield Federation of Teachers the state monitor for the district, Angelo DeSimone, rejected a proposed deal acceptable to both parties, Barbier said.

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Stockton University acting president to continue leadership, officials say

By Brittany M. Wehner, For NJ.com
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Harvey Kesselman (Submitted Photo | For NJ.com)Brittany M. Wehner | For NJ.com

GALLOWAY TWP. — Dr. Harvey Kesselman will remain Stockton University’s acting president, officials confirmed Wednesday morning.Kesselman will also withdraw as president of the University of Southern Maine and continue as Stockton’s acting president at the request of the school’s Board of Trustees, a press release stated.

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Testimony: Call for a Moratorium on the Consequences of High Stakes Testing

Donna M. Chiera Senate Education testimony, May 18

Donna M. Chiera Senate Education testimony, May 18

Parents, students, community members and educators continue to stand up against the trend of standardized testing increasingly driving education policies and practices. They are rejecting the concept of the disastrous “shame, blame, test and punish” accountability system that is dismantling the teaching and learning process. Disbelief and outrage was expressed when it was learned publishing companies are “spying” on students without any prior notification to the school systems, parents or students. We have witnessed an increase in parents protesting the number of hours schools spend on test prepping and test taking rather than teaching. This movement has grown as more required assessments and district level benchmarks have been implemented.

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