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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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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 »

Labor solidarity in Montclair

Labor solidarity in Montclair

Labor solidarity in Montclair

AFT Local 1904 members (Rich Wolfson, Ken Brook, Bill Sullivan) supporting trade union brothers and sisters at the demonstration against developers LCOR/Pinnacle, at the Valley & Bloom construction site in Montclair on Tuesday July 8. The demonstration was organized by Thomas F. McIntyre (far left) from the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers.

Keep up the Pressure: Tell LCOR to Abide its Contract and Create Union Jobs

The Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers of New Jersey (BAC/ADC) organized a demonstration this week to call on LCOR – the developer behind the “Valley and Bloom Project” in Montclair – to abide by its contractual agreement and use union pension funds it received from California teachers unions to create union jobs.

We thank AFTNJ and all of our union brothers and sisters who showed their support by attending this demonstration as well as making calls to the CEO of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), which has a controlling interest in LCOR and can therefore hold the company accountable to keep its promise.

California teachers, invested $800 million worth of their pension fund in LCOR with the understanding that their investment would go towards creating union jobs. Instead, LCOR is using that money for non-union labor. These teachers deserve an answer as well as immediate action from CalSTRS to resolve this matter.

You can help to keep the pressure on LCOR by taking the following action:

Make a call to CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes (916) 414-2200. Inform Mr. Ehnes that, LCOR has not honored its obligation to California’s teachers, and urge him to do everything in his power to compel LCOR to abide by its contract and use union pension dollars to create union jobs.

We must stand in solidarity, not only to make LCOR keep its word to the California teachers, but also to ensure that the jobs we create here in New Jersey support a middle class standard of living and carry the stamp of skilled union labor. Please take a moment to make a phone call to show your support and solidarity.

CD 5 race: AFT endorses Dem Cho against GOP’s Garrett

By Mark Bonamo 

Roy Cho

Roy Cho

RIDGEWOOD – The American Federation of Teachers New Jersey (AFTNJ) has announced its endorsement of Roy Cho for Congress in the Fifth Congressional District, citing his commitment to strengthening public education and pulling the nation out of its higher education affordability crisis.

“We appreciate Roy’s commitment to education and support for teachers,” said AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera. “His mentorship of students from low-income backgrounds who are the first in their family to attend college is admirable as is his speaking out about the crushing debt these students face. We are proud to endorse his candidacy.”

Cho serves on the board of directors of the nonprofit organization New Jersey Needs You, which focuses on mentoring college students from low-income backgrounds who are the first in their family to attend a four-year college, helping them to graduate and secure internships and jobs.

AFTNJ is the state’s largest representative of higher education workers, and represents educators in public, independent, charter and religious schools. AFTNJ claims more than 30,000 members.

“I am honored to have the support of our education professionals and pledge to work with them on long-term solutions for our broken student loan system,” said Cho, a Democrat seeking to unseat six-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5). “Unlike [Garrett], I won’t vote against cutting student loan interest rates, or gutting the grant programs our students rely on to afford the education they need to build successful careers. Our students and families deserve better.”

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Hespe Helps Take Hearsay Out of Newark ‘Working Group’

By John Mooney

In one of his first public statements, acting commissioner details plans and purpose for working group, comments on Anderson’s annual review

The state-appointed “working group” that will serve as a community sounding board for embattled Newark superintendent Cami Anderson will have as many as 18 people and start its work in the next couple of weeks, said acting state Education Commissioner David Hespe yesterday.

In some of his first public comments since the renewal of Anderson’s contract, Hespe said in an interview that the group would be made up of people who both live and work in Newark and would be a critical measure for Anderson going forward.

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College of New Jersey’s ‘Campus Town’ development beginning to take shape

By Brendan McGrath, The Times of Trenton

EWING — Campus Town, the $86 million private-public project that will bring college housing, restaurants and shops to The College of New Jersey, is becoming a reality, as much of the steelwork already towers above the construction barrier that has lined Route 31 for the last year.

“It’s exciting to see the buildings take shape,” said college spokesman David Muha. “It’s possible to imagine what the complex might be like when it’s complete.”

The PRC Group, which is developing the site, is already lining up the businesses that will fill in 80,000 square feet of retail space at the nine-building, 278,000-square-foot complex.

The anchor store will be a 14,000-square-foot Barnes & Noble bookstore and café, said Greg Lentine, PRC’s director of university campus development. PRC has also reached deals for a Mexican Mariachi Grill, Red Berry Frozen Yogurt and Yummy Sushi, Lentine said.

All of the construction should be completed next June, Lentine said, giving stores time to move in ahead of the planned August 2015 opening.

Campus Town’s design involves a mixture of one-, two- and four-bedroom apartments built on top of first-floor retail space. Lentine said that PRC will soon set up a rental office for students who wish to apply for fall 2015 housing, and he is confident that students will be drawn to living at Campus Town.

“Even when you get out of school, your apartment isn’t going to be as nice as this,” Lentine said.

The retail portion of the complex will be called The Shoppes at 31 and Main, in reference to Campus Town’s main entrance — Route 31 and Main Boulevard — where a traffic light will be installed.

PRC is also considering bringing in a full service restaurant and bar, an Italian restaurant, a hair-cutting shop, a sporting goods store and a dry cleaner, among other businesses, Lentine said.

Campus Town will provide housing for 446 students, Lentine said. While the apartments will be for students and be located on college property, they will not be part of TCNJ’s on-campus housing, Lentine said, so PRC is hiring a firm to manage the rental process.

Parking for the students living in the complex will be separate from public parking for the shops, Lentine said.

Muha applauded the flexibility for building and design of the project that was afforded by the 2009 New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act. It allows public colleges and universities to bypass public bidding laws and make deals with private companies to build and operate campus facilities.

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NJIT, TCNJ among costliest colleges in the nation, new ranking reveals

By Kelly Heyboer, The Star-Ledger

NEWARK — New Jersey Institute of Technology and the College of New Jersey have some of the highest tuition rates in the nation, according to a controversial new U.S. Department of Education ranking.

Federal officials updated their lists of the highest- and lowest-priced colleges and universities last week. The annual lists, which look at the cost of nearly 4,300 institutions, are required by Congress as part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.

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Possibility of compromise slows action on Common Core

By Rita Giordano, Inquirer Staff Writer

Gov. Christie as Henry Clay? Next week may tell.

Based on the likelihood of a Christie veto, and his recent hint that a compromise might be on the way, the state Senate has held off on a final vote on a bill that would create a task force to review the impacts of the Common Core State Standards in language arts and math, and the potential impact of the new online Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), which is set for statewide rollout this coming school year.

The bill would also prevent using PARCC results to hold students and schools accountable for up to two years, and delay any consequences for teachers in their evaluations for the same time period.

An identical bill already sailed through the Assembly, getting 72 of 80 votes.

New Jersey is one of a relatively small but growing number of states at least considering a slowdown of using a high-stakes test linked to the Common Core to judge students, schools and teachers. Indiana, South Carolina, and Oklahoma have decided to drop out of Common Core, and others are considering it.

Supporters of Common Core’s added rigor and the new tests say change is needed to prepare more students for higher education and the modern workplace. State education officials have spoken out against not moving ahead.

While it is widely believed that Christie would veto the pending task force and moratorium legislation, he held out the possibility of a compromise while speaking at a June 25 town hall meeting in Haddon Heights. Legislators decided to hold off voting to give that compromise a chance to take shape. In Haddon Heights, Christie had said he would probably have something to announce in seven to 10 days. Last week, acting Education Commissioner David Hespe was away.

Legislators have said relief could come in a number of forms, including an executive order or regulatory change. Some say action could come Wednesday when the state Board of Education meets.

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Press release: AFTNJ Endorses Candidates for General Election

Contact: Nat Bender, nbender [@] aftnj.org, 908-377-0393

Education workers union backs pols with strong labor and education credentials

EDISON…The American Federation of Teachers New Jersey (AFTNJ) state federation endorsed 16 candidates for Federal and local races Monday. The union’s political mobilization committee reviewed voting records and questionnaires in making their decisions, according to chair Kay Schechter, an administrative assistant at Rutgers. “We believe these candidates are the best choices for Senate, Congress and local office and will work to educate our members so they can make informed votes,” she said.

AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera stressed the importance of electing legislators who understand and support public education as national policy debates swirl on funding issues, high stakes testing and tenure. “Elections have consequences for years and generations to come,” said Chiera, retired after more than 30 years teaching elementary special education. “We need to work to elect legislators to promise to build and support public institutions such as community schools.”

The union federation’s political director Seth Anderson-Oberman is developing comparison materials on the candidate and working with more than 50 local member unions to encourage active participation in the November election. “Teachers typically vote in high numbers, but we would like to get more volunteers reaching out to union households particularly in competitive districts,” he said.

The endorsements include four AFTNJ members, two of whom are incumbents running for reelection as municipal mayors one incumbant freeholder and one board of education candidate.

AFTNJ Endorsements
Senate: Cory Booker
CD1: Don Norcross
CD2: Frank LoBiondo
CD3: Aimee Belgard
CD5: Roy Cho
CD6: Frank Pallone
CD7: Janice Kovach
CD8: Albio Sires
CD9: Bill Pascrell
CD10: Donald Payne Jr.
CD11: Mark Dunec
CD12: Bonnie Watson-Coleman

AFT Local Races:
Keith Kazmark Mayor Woodland Park
Domenick Stampone Mayor Haledon
Len Luciano – Essex Freeholder
Mike Heller – Bloomfield Bd of Education

[END]

The American Federation of Teachers New Jersey is a federation of more than 50 local education workers unions representing 30,000 members. AFTNJ is the largest higher education union in the state as well as representing education workers in school districts and independent, charter and religious schools.

Labor Candidates School

The New Jersey Labor Movement has built the best Labor Candidates Program in the country. Rank-and-file union members have won 782 elections and now represent working families in public offices within the State Senate and Assembly, on County Freeholder Boards, in our towns as Mayors, on township committees and councils, as fire commissioners, and on school boards across the state.

“The AFL candidate school is a valuable experience which helped me win several elections as Mayor and Councilmember in Montclair,” said adjunct professor Bob Russo. “It is critical for union members to run for, win and serve in public office, especially at this time of negative attacks upon the labor movement.” Russo said that he will launch an exploratory committee during the next year to consider running for Governor.

The Labor Candidates School is the cornerstone of this successful political program. Election experts instruct union members about fundraising, research, message development, public speaking, media relations, voter contact, volunteer recruitment, targeting, and get-out-the-vote efforts. Participants are awarded full scholarships by the New Jersey State AFL-CIO.

August 9 & 10, 2014: Rutgers University Continuing Studies Conference Center
Pursuant to the New Jersey State AFL-CIO Labor Candidates Resolution, union members seeking election to public office must secure the support of their local union presiding officer who shall then notify the Central Labor Council and the New Jersey State AFL-CIO. All non-incumbent Labor Candidates are required to graduate from the Labor Candidates School and be reviewed by the Central Labor Council before resources can be earmarked for his/her election campaign. Each union member seeking election or re-election to public office must complete the online Labor Candidates Survey.

‘One Newark’ by the Numbers — Charters Rate as Top Grade-School Choice

As the fight over the “One Newark” reorganization plan for the city’s public schools continues unabated, an interesting pattern has emerged early as to where families want their children to go to school.

In the first round of applications opened up to Newark students, 12,000 families made their choices — from one to eight — and favored two of the city’s high-flying charter school networks as their top choices for elementary school.

The North Star Academy led the list, chosen first by almost a quarter of the 8,000 families making elementary school decisions. It was followed by the TEAM Academy Charter School, before the first district school — Ann Street — was listed.

But when it came to high schools, it was the district’s magnet schools and even a few of its comprehensive schools that led the list.

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Slew of changes on South Jersey college campuses

By Jonathan Lai, Inquirer Staff Writer

Gloucester County College is no more.

In its place stands a new name, playing off the brand name of a nearby university and reflecting the growth of the community college: Rowan College at Gloucester County.

Lawmakers and county officials joined the college’s administrators and staff Tuesday for a celebration of the school’s new branding. Among the speakers: State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester), State Sen. Donald Norcross (D., Camden), Rowan University president Ali A. Houshmand, Rowan trustees’ chair Linda Rohrer, and Rowan College president Frederick Keating.

The new name was one of several higher-education changes that took effect Tuesday. July 1, the start of the fiscal year, also saw a series of transitions at Rutgers-Camden: a new campus chancellor, a new law school dean, and the integration of a nursing school absorbed by Rutgers last year.

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