Analysis: Partisan And Labor Politics Drive Battle Over Health-Benefits Reform

By Mark J. Magyar

Big question is whether Christie, Legislature set health-benefit payments or unions get back collective-bargaining rights

As Gov. Chris Christie’s Pension and Health Benefits Study Commission wrestles with the issue of how much public employees should pay toward their health insurance, New Jersey’s public-employee unions are focused not only on how much they will pay, but also on making sure they win back the right to collective bargaining on healthcare issues.…

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Newark Mayor Continues Push to Wrest Back Reins of City’s Schools

By John Mooney

Hosting weekend gathering of various stakeholders is part of broader political strategy addressing issue he doesn’t control

He has virtually no say over what happens in his city’s public schools, but Newark Mayor Ras Baraka has been talking a lot about education lately.

The latest example was the “Newark Community Education Convention” held over two days this weekend.…

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NJ Teacher Evaluations Are: a) Mostly a Success b) Still Need Work c) Both

By John Mooney

How was the first year of New Jersey’s new teacher evaluation system? Depends on whom you ask

There’s hardly consensus as to how well New Jersey’s teacher evaluation system worked in its first year — and no more agreement about how the second year will stack up.

The state Department of Education last week released a mostly positive report on the initial year of the system as dictated under the TEACHNJ tenure reform law, citing some challenges but praising the progress in meeting requirements for additional observations and goal setting for teachers.…

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