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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 »


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 »


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 »


AFTNJ Activism

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

Task Force’s Report On Special-Education Reforms Calls For Changes

By John Mooney

Recommendations include return to state aid based on individual students’ needs, not ‘census-based’ method

More than two years after its creation, a state task force looking into special-education funding and services in New Jersey has finally issued its report to the Legislature with more than two dozen recommendations, some sweeping and some technical.

Maybe the most significant recommendation made by the 17-member panel of educators, special-needs advocates and others is that lawmakers significantly rewrite the state’s funding law to better distribute special-education aid to school districts.

The 28-page report says the state’s current method of funding special education – based on a statewide average count of students, a so-called “census-based” method – is ineffective and does little to lower special-needs classification rates in the state, one of the aims of the task force’s study.


To fix sports, Rutgers will splurge

By Patricia Alex, Staff Writer, The Record

Rutgers University is poised to bump up spending by millions of dollars on athletics, a program already awash in red ink, as its leadership committed this week to “doing what it takes” to make the football team competitive in the powerhouse Big Ten Athletic Conference. That means costly buyouts of the current sports leadership — and the likely hiring of a considerably more expensive football coach and staff.

Athletics at Rutgers is substantially underwritten by the state university, where tuition at $14,000 for a commuter student is among the highest of any flagship public school in the nation. But moves this week indicate the university is ready to spend more to reorder its beleaguered football program.

Rutgers spent $172 million from 2010 to 2014 to underwrite intercollegiate sports, more than any other college in the country during that five-year period, according to an analysis of NCAA reports released by the Chronicle of Higher Education last month.


“It’s pretty clear that athletic spending will take a big jump — we’re all hoping Rutgers athletics will not turn into the Port Authority,” said Professor Mark Killingsworth, referring to the notoriously political agency that runs the region’s airports and Hudson River crossings.

Killingsworth has long studied athletic spending at Rutgers and has been part of a group of faculty critical of its escalation.


Black ministers join in call for Kean University president to resign

coalition of eight black ministers have joined the call for the resignation of embattled Kean University President Darwood Farahi. On their Facebook page they say the head of the Union, N.J., school has resided over a “climate of racial intolerance that has been allowed to fester for years,” and responded with “too little too late” after anonymously posted death threats on Twitter this Tuesday targeting black students.

student petition asking that the university fire Farahi was recently posted on; it currently has some 895 supporters.

Members of the student movement Occupy Kean University allege that, among other things, Farahi falsified his resume and presided over a profound drop in the school’s graduation rate.


Camden Chapter Adjunct Advisor Fall News

Adjunct Advisor: Camden County College Chapter of United Adjunct Faculty of NJ newsletter

Adjunct Advisor: Camden County College Chapter of United Adjunct Faculty of NJ newsletter

In this issue:
The Battle Against Unions
Middle Class Incomes Suffer Without Collective Bargaining
Four Adjuncts Win Excellence Awards
How Did AFT Decide to Endorse Clinton?

N.J. pension investment panel to disclose fees, bonuses

By Samantha Marcus | NJ Advance Media for

TRENTON — The New Jersey State Investment Council, seeking to resolve a dispute with the heads of the public worker pension funds, voted Wednesday to report five years’ worth of fees, bonuses and performance data for the state’s investments.

Tom Byrne, chairman of the council overseeing the investments, said it was unclear how long it would take to compile the report, which will include alternative investments managed externally and funds managed in-house. Council members comprised of governor appointees and pension fund trustees voted unanimously.


Op-Ed: Drawing Succor And Sustenance From Membership In The Teachers Union

By Norine Gall

A strong union does far more than protect teachers; it makes it possible for students to excel

Norine Gall

Norine Gall

When unions are under attack, I think of my 31 years as an elementary school teacher in Perth Amboy and my two sons — a firefighter in Perth Amboy and a Monmouth County corrections officer. Both my sons put their lives on the line every day and depend on union brothers and sisters (mostly brothers) to protect one another. During my career I depended on my union sisters and brother (more sisters than brothers since more women go into teaching) for guidance, camaraderie, and — particularly when times became difficult for educators — support and protection.

This term the U.S. Supreme Court is considering Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which could weaken unions and make it harder for working people to come together and negotiate for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. States without such provisions lag behind stronger union states such as New Jersey in education attainment for students and health outcomes and higher in family and childhood poverty. Throughout the United States (and in other countries) objective measures show that when unions are weaker working people bring homes less, have fewer benefits, and the balance of power shifts to the rich and privileged with disastrous public health and economic outcomes for the overall society.

During my career, the union functioned as a valuable tool for learning my craft as an educator, receiving professional development from my peers, and subsequently mentoring new teachers. I learned to help new teachers channel their enthusiasm and excitement into developing great lesson plans, mastering the daily routine of reaching out to students as unique individuals, and dealing with observations and evaluations.

Many factors influence success in teaching, but I have seen new teachers thrive when mentored through having the confidential support system unions promote. My union helped create a safe space to have frank discussions with my colleagues about what works for each student and how to best maximize their potential, in a much different way than high stakes testing and state-mandated evaluations can count.


The predatory for-profit college industry and its enablers in Congress | Opinion

By Linda Stamato | Star-Ledger Guest Columnist

For-profit college conglomerates take in millions of U.S. students—12 percent of the nation’s college students—and pocket their publicly-financed student grants and loans—$30 billion annually—while their students account for nearly 50 percent of loan defaults.  These outfits generate substantial profits, attract Wall Street speculators and hedge funds to finance their expansion all the while making a joke (on us) of the notion that “private industry does it better.”

For-profit colleges in New Jersey

New Jersey is not a big player in for-profit higher education—eleven schools, several with multiple campuses—but, with some 20,000 students enrolled, it’s big enough.

Unlike other states, though, New Jersey is barely involved in the effort to turn off the spigot and protect students even though two of the colleges operating in this state—Berkeley and DeVry—make the top 25 list of the worst of the for-profit colleges. The University of Phoenix earns honorable mention, and yet another, ITT, was ordered to pay $9.2 million to the students who sued following a trial in Camden just weeks ago. This private technical college, with 47,000 students, has been investigated or sued by 19 states and several federal agencies for false claims and questionable business practices.

If New Jersey is concerned, it’s not apparent.  Not only is the state’s attorney general absent from the joint efforts of the other states, even the state’s official website on higher education lists the colleges with no reference—none whatsoever—to the investigations or lawsuits involving the colleges operating in New Jersey that are being sued or are under investigation by state and federal agencies.


Study finds few self-supporting, profitable university sports programs

By Patricia Alex, Staff Writer, The Record


At the vast majority of the 201 programs surveyed — including Rutgers — revenue from ticket sales, donations and television contracts didn’t come close to covering overall athletic budgets.

At the vast majority of the 201 programs surveyed — including Rutgers — revenue from ticket sales, donations and television contracts didn’t come close to covering overall athletic budgets.

Just six Division I athletic programs supported themselves and turned a profit from outside revenue in 2014, the most recent year for which data was available, according to a survey released Monday.

At the vast majority of the 201 programs surveyed — including Rutgers and New Jersey Institute of Technology — revenue from ticket sales, donations and television contracts didn’t come close to covering overall athletic budgets, according to an analysis by the Chronicle of Higher Education in consort with the Huffington Post. Mandatory student fees were used as support in many cases.

New Jersey’s two Division I programs were singled out as being particularly needy: Rutgers, which last year entered the vaunted Big Ten Athletic Conference, was cited for spending $172 million over the five-year period between 2010 to 2014 to underwrite intercollegiate sports, more than any other college in the country during that time.

NJIT, which has no football team, received the highest percentage of school support in the nation for its programs, a subsidy of 91 percent of the $13-million athletic budget in 2014.

The analysis was based on financial reports provided to the NCAA over the five years and obtained through public records requests by the news organizations. It found that in that time period public universities pumped $10.3 billion in mandatory student fees and other support into their sports programs in an arms race that continues despite concerns over rising tuition and fees.


This N.J. college has the worst sports finances, report says

By Adam Clark, NJ Advance Media for

NEWARK — New Jersey Institute of Technology’s basketball team isn’t nationally ranked. But the school is number one among America’s public colleges when it comes to pouring money into athletic programs with scant financial return, according to a new report.

The Newark-based public college funded 90 percent of its athletic program through student fees and other institutional support in 2014, the highest percentage of  201 public universities’ athletics departments studied by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The report focused on colleges with the highest percentage of their athletic department budgets paid out of pocket.

Rutgers University has the distinction of spending the most overall dollars, $172 million, to subsidize sports in the past five years.

Of NJIT’s $13.1 million budget for athletics, $11.9 million was subsidized from the college’s coffers, according to the report.


Center for Individual Rights: Stop Attacking Working People

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