Amy and Christine

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 »

k12480

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 »

highereducation480

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 »

activism4801

AFTNJ Activism

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

Delegate Assembly postponed

Due to the possibility of a weather emergency for Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, the Delegate Assembly has been postponed. A new date will be announced.

Jasey appointed chair of Assembly Higher Education Committee

By Chase Brush

Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) announced on Friday that he’s appointed Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey (D-27) as the new chairperson of the Assembly Higher Education Committee.

Mila Jasey

Mila Jasey

Jasey replaces former Higher Education Chair Celeste Riley (D-3), who left the Assembly this year to serve as the Cumberland County clerk.

Jasey, of South Orange, was first sworn into the New Jersey General Assembly in 2007, and before joining served as a member of the South Orange/Maplewood Board of Education for three terms, including two years as President. She is Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on the Public Schools and serves as a member of the Assembly Education Committee.

More>>

State Spending on Higher Education Inches Up, but Fiscal Pitfalls Remain

By Eric Kelderman

An annual report on state spending on higher education is mostly good news, at least for the fiscal year just past.

But widen the lens, and the focus muddies: Half of the states are still appropriating less for higher education than they did five years ago.

And the prospects for future spending are clouded by falling oil prices and state lawmakers’ resistance to raising taxes.

Over all, states increased appropriations for higher education by more than 5 percent from the 2014 to the 2015 fiscal years.

That’s the second consecutive annual increase after four years of declines or nominal growth, according to the “Grapevine” report, a joint project of the Center for the Study of Education Policy, at Illinois State University, and the Association of State Higher Education Executive Officers.

More>>

How did N.J. get into this pension mess?

By Samantha Marcus, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

TRENTON — Some 800,000 people, working and retired, are beneficiaries of New Jersey’s pension system, a collection of funds going deeper into the red.

It’s a system that Gov. Chris Christie, in his State of the State address last week, called “an insatiable beast.”

In boom years, New Jersey leaders shortchanged the pension system, and those “sins of the past,” Christie said, “have made the system unaffordable.”

Fully funding the pension system this fiscal year would cost $3.9 billion, but Christie cut the pension payment to just $700 million to balance the budget — a move that landed him in court, battling an attempt by unions to force him to pay more.

Union leaders accuse the governor of going back on his word to have the state make full payments in exchange for higher contributions from workers. It’s a hot issue in Trenton made even bigger with Christie considering a White House run.

More>>

6 N.J. governors, including Chris Christie, are to blame for state’s pension crisis: Opinion

By Sean Rutherford

New Jersey’s state pension fund is going broke. Apparently, in 10 years the fund will be empty and those belonging to the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) and the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) will be out of luck. And when you ask any politician why this is happening, we get variations of this response: “The state’s public employees are bankrupting us with their salaries and benefits plans.”

This is where I draw the line. As a teacher, I have contributed every dime I was supposed to into my pension. Yet, for some reason our state government hasn’t. Where did this all start? Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. She took office in 1994 and decided that in order to achieve a balanced state budget, as required by law, she would reduce the amount of money contributed to the pension fund. In 1997, she decided the state should borrow $2.75 billion from the fund and use it elsewhere. As time went on, she contributed a mere fraction of what was necessary to replace those funds and meet the needs of the pension system. For the next half decade, the state as a whole contributed an average of $23 million per year. The calculations and formulas showed the state should have contributed an average of $600 million per year to keep up with the demand. This trend continued with each new governor that took office: Donald DiFrancesco, James McGreevey, Richard Codey, Jon Corzine, and our current governor, Chris Christie.

More>>

Baraka asks for Newark superintendent’s resignation — again

By Naomi Nix, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

NEWARK — After Newark superintendent Cami Anderson’s contentious meeting with state lawmakers last week, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka is once again calling for her resignation.

Baraka released a Jan. 12 letter he sent to Anderson, asking the state-appointed superintendent to resign because of her “blatant disregard” for the Newark community she serves.

“In light of your manipulation of state control of Newark Public Schools to usurp the rights of Newark residents to have input into the governance of the public schools in our city,” Baraka wrote.

“As Mayor of City of Newark, I demand your immediate resignation as state appointed superintendent of Newark Public Schools.”

In his letter, the mayor alleged a host of criticisms of Anderson’s leadership of the school district including the failure to provide adequate services to students with disabilities, not working with the Newark Public Schools Advisory board, and creating a “hostile” environment for district employees.

More>>

Montclair State’s bird-brained idea: Editorial

By Star-Ledger Editorial Board

It costs $11,000 in tuition to attend Montclair State University each year, which is a sizable chunk of change for most people who thought state colleges were the affordable alternative.

So it was baffling that the taxpayer-supported institution thought it would be prudent to spend $210,000 on a 12-foot statue of its Red Hawk mascot, and given the negative reaction you read about it online and a high volume of alumni feedback, it might be time for Montclair to reconsider the project.

We all like sculpture. Art enriches our lives and our landscapes, but this is something that should have been funded through private or alumni funds, not the Student Government Association. The SGA ponied up half the cost after being sold on the notion that statue would “enhance school spirit” – and it’s merely coincidental that it looks like some screaming attack chicken.

The Record quoted one student named Jo Landau, who in two sentences said more than we can say: “You know what could really help school spirit?” she asked. “If tuition weren’t so high (and) if there were parking spots for everyone.”

More>>

Comptroller investigating $219K table

By Cheryl Hehl, Staff Writer

The New Jersey State Comptroller’s Office is reportedly looking into Kean’s purchase of a conference table for $219,000.

UNION COUNTY, NJ — The state agency charged with overseeing waste and financial misconduct of taxpayer dollars is looking into whether Kean University followed the proper procedures when purchasing a $219,000 conference table from a company in China.

Kean President Dawood Farahi was the initiator of the purchase of the high-tech, high cost conference table, obtaining approval for the purchase from the Kean Board of Trustees.

However, this is not the first time the university president has blazed a trail of controversy. In fact, it is just one of many incidents, including the construction of buildings that remain half-filled with students, that have raised eyebrows.

According to sources in the New Jersey State Comptroller’s Office, the probe was launched after media reports that the state university, supported by taxpayer dollars, waived competitive bidding in order to buy the table from a company in China.

More>>

To fix higher education, make it more practical

By Jonathan Lai

A Stockton College project that studied the state’s public higher education system for more than a year concluded that colleges should add more practical skills.

Recommendations from the Higher Education Strategic Information and Governance project include expanding dual enrollment programs for high school students to earn college credit, offering more internship and on-the-job study programs for current students, and granting credit for nonacademic work experience to potential students.

More>>

5 questions for education comissioner David Hespe on Newark schools

By Naomi Nix, NJ Advance Media

NEWARK — Last week was tumultuous one for Newark public schools superintendent Cami Anderson after lawmakers grilled her on the district’s controversial reorganization plan as well as her relationship with residents and civic leaders.

NJ Advance Media spent a little time talking with State Education Commissioner David Hespe about Anderson’s meeting with lawmakers and other issues facing the superintendent. Here are few snippets of our conversation.

More>>

Powered by Union Labor | Google+