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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 »

Chris Christie to teachers union: You deserve a punch in the face

By Lyndsey Layton

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, struggling to gain traction in a crowded 2016 GOP presidential field, said Sunday that a national teachers union deserves a “punch in the face” and called it the “single most destructive force in public education.” Christie said the union cares only about higher wages and benefits and not about children.

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Randi Weingarten, the AFT president and a close Clinton ally, responded with a statement Monday.

“Chris Christie has issues – from reneging on his promise to fix pensions to his state’s fiscal standing facing near junk bond status,” Weingarten said. “But the biggest issue is he’s a bully and has anger management problems. That he would threaten to punch teachers in the face —mostly women seeking to help children meet their potential and achieve their dreams — promotes a culture of violence and underscores why he lacks the temperament and emotional skills to be president, or serve in any leadership capacity. It’s a sad day in the life of our nation to see a candidate threaten violence to gain political favor.”

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Video: Read and Believe in Newark


What is the importance of literacy? Working together to get 45,000 books to kids: City of Newark, United Way, First Book, AFT, NTU and community groups take a day of action to sort books by age group.

Bergen Community College cuts 64 full-time lecturer positions

By Patricia Alex, Staff Writer, The Record

The positions of 64 full-time lecturers at Bergen Community College have been cut as the school struggles to cope with a mix of stagnant state and county funding and declining enrollment.

The move will save nearly $934,000 and comes after 150 part-time staffers either had their hours eliminated or reduced earlier in the month in an effort to save $1 million more, said school spokesman Larry Hlavenka Jr. on Thursday.

The lecturers carry a full teaching load – about five courses each semester – and are paid $38,600 a year plus benefits. They must reapply for their jobs each semester and are considered temporary employees, Hlavenka said.

Only 28 lecturers will be kept. The other 64 are being asked to reapply as adjuncts, who make about $2,100 per course and have no benefits, according to the college.

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Kean U seeks Communists for China campus jobs

By Ronica Cleary

Union, New Jersey (My9NJ) – Looking for a new job? Well Kean University is hiring at its campus in China. The catch? Membership in the Chinese Communist Party is preferred!

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James Castiglione is an Associate Professor at Kean in Union and is President of the Kean Federation of Teachers.

He’s calling on the state for a forensic audit of spending here at Kean because he has serious concerns about this issue amongst others involving spending and layoffs at the University.

Castiglione noted the funding the university gets as a state school and said there is no transparency with spending.

“We’re calling on the state of New Jersey to investigate. We want them to conduct a forensic audit, looking into the finances, all aspects of the university, the branch campus in China, and the Kean University Foundation,” he stated.

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Teachers Needed to Review State English and Math Standards

What is next for the standards currently known as “Common Core”? Three Content Subcommittees will review each set of standards (K-2, 6-12 English Language Arts, and 6-12 Math) in-depth. Each subcommittee will propose a set of revised standards to a Standards Review Committee for consideration. Educators can apply for the content subcommittees, no nomination is required. Seventy five percent of each content subcommittee will be current, district and school based educators.

Act quickly: Download application and return before 4:00 PM, July 31 to njstandardsreview@doe.state.nj.us to be considered.

Questions? Please email njstandardsreview@doe.state.nj.us with any questions or concerns.

Public Employees’ Retirement System Chair Discusses New Pension Lawsuit

Another shot fired in the court battle over public worker pension payments. Four years ago unions cut a deal with Gov. Chris Christie to put pension payments on a secure footing. But when less than expected revenue came in, the state balanced the budget by contributing less than expected payments. The unions sued and the state Supreme Court effectively let the state off the hook. Now the unions have amended their suit citing breach of contract and they’re demanding billions of dollars in damages.

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Op-Ed: Charting The Path To Local Control For Newark’s Public Schools

By Theresa Luhm

QSAC maps out a clear and expeditious approach for moving Newark’s state-controlled schools back under home rule

In June, Gov. Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced the establishment of the Newark Educational Success Board (NESB), a nine-member panel charged with “developing a clear, specific pathway with appropriate timelines and benchmarks for the return of local control [of the public schools] to the Newark community” after more than 20 years of state operation. The Board will meet soon and should seize this unprecedented opportunity to jumpstart the restoration of local authority under the process established by the New Jersey Legislature a decade ago.

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How to be a part of N.J.’s Common Core review

By Adam Clark, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

TRENTON — New Jersey’s Department of Education is accepting applications from teachers to sit on the committees that will review the Common Core academic standards.

The applications are available on the department’s website, along with nomination forms for school districts. All applications and nominations must be submitted by July 31, according to the state.

RELATED: 10 things to know about N.J.’s Common Core review
The department announced earlier this month that it will establish a 23-member committee to oversee the Common Core review process and make final recommendations, as ordered by Gov. Chris Christie. Three subcommittees will review the math and English/language arts standards, which outline what skills students should master in grades K-12.

Any teacher can apply for the committees that review the standards, but only teachers nominated by their district can sit on the committee that makes final recommendations, according to the state.

The committees will also consist of parents, school board members, administrators, educational experts and business and industry representatives. For questions about how to apply, contact NJStandardsReview@doe.state.nj.us.

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Rutgers faculty: Don’t blame us for tuition hike

By Adam Clark, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

NEW BRUNSWICK — When Rutgers University announced a 2.3 percent tuition increase last week, school officials cited rising expenses, including 2 percent raises for several employee unions with new contracts.

But the school’s faculty has its own ideas for why the typical undergraduate student will have to pay about $300 more to attend the New Brunswick campus this fall.

“The expanding ranks of highly paid managers and the bottomless pit of athletics spending seem far greater cost drivers at Rutgers than faculty and staff who experienced years of wage freezes while tuition continued to rise,” professor Deepa Kumar said this week on behalf of the university’s faculty union.

RELATED: What Rutgers students need to know about the tuition hike
Kumar said university leaders should work with the faculty to advocate for increased state funding rather than blame them for the tuition increase.

Tuition and fee increases at Rutgers have outpaced the raises to faculty over the past four years, according to The American Association of University Professors- American Federation of Teachers, which represents Rutgers’ professors and graduate students.

In makings its case, the union also pointed to a 2014 audit showing that 79 top Rutgers administrators and mangers were making at least $250,000. In another finding, the audit reported that Rutgers’ $75 million athletic program was not self-supported in 2013 and relied on 44 percent of its funding from student fees and core academic funds.

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Chinese Communists Preferred

By Elizabeth Redden

“Membership in Chinese Communist Party is preferred,” says the job advertisement for a “specialist for residence life” position at Kean University’s China campus, which is run jointly with Wenzhou University and is known as Wenzhou-Kean University (WKU). The same preference is stated in a posting for a “specialist for student conduct.”

Other posted jobs at the institution don’t include that stipulation. But the standard staff employment application posted on the WKU human resources website does ask prospective employees to attach a photo and requests any number of details regarding political affiliation and personal background that would be problematic to ask under American antidiscrimination law — birth date, birthplace, nationality, gender, marital status, “politics status,” even height.

Kean, a public university in New Jersey, said its Chinese partner institution, Wenzhou, is responsible for hiring student service and operations personnel according to Chinese laws, while it handles academic hiring according to American ones. But that means that staff with direct responsibility for student life can be hired according to criteria that privilege Chinese Communist Party membership and that would be considered discriminatory in the U.S.

The norm for American colleges and universities with campuses abroad — especially in parts of the world that don’t share American values in hiring — is to state repeatedly that they hire as if hiring in the United States. But the (non-American) hiring practices for nonacademic staff at WKU raise questions about whether Kean is upholding values central to American universities — antidiscrimination and academic freedom among them — at the campus that bears its name in China.

The Council of New Jersey State College Locals — an American Federation of Teachers affiliate made up of faculty and staff unions at nine New Jersey public colleges, including Kean — issued a press release on Wednesday first calling attention to the aforementioned materials on the WKU website. In addition to raising concerns about discrimination in employment, the union said that the university’s hiring practices and application criteria “also raise serious concerns about the existence of academic freedom at Wenzhou.”

Steve Young, the executive director for the council, said the two positions that state a preference for Chinese Communist Party members — specialists for residence life and student conduct — could function like the political commissars of Soviet Russia to make sure that students toe the political line (both positions, the union’s press release notes, involve close daily work with students). “How much control does China really have over this deal,” said Young, who is calling for the New Jersey state legislature’s higher education committee to investigate Kean’s campus in Wenzhou.

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