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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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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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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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Share My Lesson is a place where educators can come together to create and share their very best teaching resources. Developed by teachers for teachers, this free platform gives access to high-quality teaching resources and provides an online community where teachers can collaborate with, encourage and inspire each other.

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How much does it cost to go to college in N.J.?: Tuition at 4-year colleges continue to rise

By Kelly Heyboer, The Star-Ledger

NEWARK — Students at Ramapo College and the College of St. Elizabeth will get a reprieve this year. But undergraduates at the rest of New Jersey’s four-year colleges will have to dig a little deeper to pay their tuition bills as they return to campus this semester.

Across the state, cash-strapped students called on their colleges to freeze tuition. Only Ramapo, a public college in Mahwah, and the College of St. Elizabeth, a private Catholic college in Convent Station, agreed to keep this year’s tuition at last year’s rates.

Undergraduates at New Jersey’s other four-year colleges and universities will pay between 1.3 percent and 4.7 percent more during the 2014-15 school year, according to a Star-Ledger survey of two dozen public and private schools.

[...]

But many students were still disappointed their tuition continues to rise. At Rowan University, senior Jalina Wayser was among the students calling for the school’s board to hold down tuition.

Rowan froze tuition last year. But this year, tuition and fees are going up 1.9 percent to $12,616.
“Even if a tuition increase is $300, that could mean the difference between someone going to school or dropping out,” said Wayser, a member of New Jersey United Students, a statewide student group campaigning for more financial help for students.

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Sussex County college trustees should have known ethics rules, experts say

By Seth Augenstein, The Star-Ledger

NEWTON — The three Sussex County Community College trustees who were on the payroll of an engineering firm they also hired at the school weren’t aware of their ethical obligations required by state law and the school’s ethics code, an independent investigation found Monday.

But experts doubt that.

“If they say they are unaware, then they are lying or incompetent,” said Brigid Harrison, a professor of political science at Montclair State University.

“It would be unusual for three members to not know their responsibilities,” added Alex Plinio, co-founder of the Institute for Ethical Leadership at the Rutgers Business School. “Perception is as important as reality when it comes to these situations.”

Trustees Glen Vetrano and Edward Leppert — both Gov. Chris Christie appointees — and Glenn Gavan all did paid work for Sparta-based firm CP Engineers. The three also variously voted to approve work for the firm over the last sixteen months.

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Labor Day #1u Solidarity message @NJAFLCIO

Clifton volunteer earns Everyday Hero award

By Maggie Katz, Correspondent, Clifton Journal

CLIFTON — Super heroes are extraordinary: they fly, can bench-press cars, and some can leap tall buildings in a single bound. They are not average people. In the face of such incredible fiction, it leaves the rest of us feeling a bit lackluster. However, there is hope. Cliftonite Krystal Woolston is a community service volunteer whose repertoire may rival even Superman. Last month in Los Angeles she was recognized with the Everyday Hero award at the American Federation of Teachers convention.

Krystal Woolston

Clifton resident Krystal Woolston, above, and a group of volunteers, help rebuild homes damaged by natural disasters. Woolston recently traveled to California to accept the Everyday Hero award for her work.

While some may argue whether heroes are born or made, Woolston started her service work in middle school, after being inspired by her mother, volunteering with the youth group at her local church in Hazlet. For her, even when the rest of her life felt like a lot to bear, the youth group and its service projects gave her stability. She grew up in Middletown, before attending Brookdale Community College and Montclair State University, where she studied English and counseling. Now 30 years old, Woolston continues to be inspired to a life of service, which has taken this Clifton resident to locations across the country and even to other parts of the globe. Her travels have taken her to Keansburg, a small town still in need of Sandy relief two years after the storm, and as far as Haiti, where she has traveled on several occasions with her former youth leader.

“I went by chance [to Haiti] the first time,” Woolston recounted. “I ran into an old youth leader when doing Sandy cleanup and she mentioned having space on the upcoming trip she was running and asked me if I wanted to participate[...] I feel such a connection to that place and loved every second – I knew I had to go back the next year.”

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Newark teachers, parents and students file lawsuit to stop school reorganization

By Peggy McGlone, The Star-Ledger

NEWARK — A coalition of Newark parents, teachers and students has filed a civil rights complaint with the state Department of Education to stop the city’s school reorganization plan from going into effect next month.

An attorney, Robert Pickett, filed the complaint on behalf of 24 people who who the One Newark plan is “defacto racial segregation” that violates the state’s constitution.

The complaint also contends the plan violates the state’s charter school law because it gives three schools to charter school operators without the required support of the schools’ students, teachers and parents.

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Rutgers trustees looking for legal advice on governance overhaul after Sweeney ultimatum

By Kelly Heyboer, The Star-Ledger

NEW BRUNSWICK — Under pressure from state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Rutgers University’s board of trustees will meet behind closed doors early next month to discuss the legal implications of a proposed overhaul of the state university’s governance system, school officials said.

The trustees have scheduled a Sept. 2 special meeting in Winants Hall on the New Brunswick campus, according to an Open Public Meetings notice filed by the university last week. The trustees will begin the meeting at 6 p.m. in public, then go into a closed session 10 minutes later to meet with Rutgers attorneys.

The only topic of the closed-door meeting will be “to discuss with counsel and obtain legal advice regarding the legal implications of implementing the recommendations of the Task Force on Governance,” according to the notice.

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Bills finally address college sexual assaults with victim advocates, crime reports: Editorial

Star-Ledger Editorial Board

When a college student is raped, universities often play conflicting roles of cop, counselor, judge and jury — with little incentive to see that real justice is done. As a result, victims too often choose to suffer silently rather than report their attacker.

Those unreported crimes make for an incomplete picture, but the numbers we have are staggering: 1 in 5 female college students will be sexually assaulted, and 88 percent of those attacks will never be reported. That’s a shameful number of victims suffering alone and a frightening number of attackers who will go unpunished.

Advocates for assault victims have been sounding this on-campus alarm for years. Finally, constructive proposals have been put forward in both Washington and Trenton.

Both call for colleges to hire confidential victims’ advocates — a critical service for rape survivors, who can be frightened or overwhelmed. Without such help, many victims choose silence, never reporting the crime and never getting the help needed to heal.

Both measures also seek open reporting of campus rape data. The federal bill calls for a confidential national survey and requires that every university publish its results, as the military does today. That would be a major improvement to the weak reporting requirements in the law now.

The problem with both bills is that they don’t require colleges and universities to inform local prosecutors when a student reports a rape, as Rutgers University does. Some advocates worry that will discourage reporting even further. That is a legitimate concern, but it is outweighed by the need to confront this clear threat to public safety.

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Fine Print: “Student Growth Objective” Process Anything But Simple

By John Mooney

State education officials offer examples of how goals fit into revamped teacher evaluations

What it is: State Department of Education staff on Wednesday presented the State Board of Education with an outline and examples of how the process works for setting “student growth objectives,” which are agreed-upon measures that every teacher must use as part of their annual evaluations.

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