Sen Booker Introduced Legislation to Increase Teacher Compensation

Black Star News

Through refundable tax credits, the Respect, Advancement, and Increasing Support for Educators (RAISE) Act will help boost the compensation of early childhood, elementary, and secondary school teachers. Depending on the level of poverty in their school, public school teachers would be eligible for a tax credit up to $10,000. The bill would also double the educator tax credit, which teachers can use to offset the cost of school supplies.…

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Kean University Should Quit Costly Legal Attacks and Fix Failing Department

Beleaguered president of New Jersey public college would rather waste taxpayers’ money fighting accreditors than working with them to clean up his mess

UNION, N.J.—Kean Federation of Teachers President James Castiglione, AFT New Jersey President Donna M. Chiera and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statements after embattled Kean University President Dawood Farahi threatened to sue evaluators that de-accredited his master’s program in public affairs:

The KFT’s Castiglione said: “Instead of wasting money on legal challenges, Kean University management should address glaring deficiencies by hiring full-time faculty and staff to teach, counsel and eventually help public administration students find employment.…

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Gov. Murphy Signs Legislation Requiring Mental Health Ed & Establishing Program Testing Later Start Times

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today signed legislation that will require all New Jersey public schools to include mental health instruction in K through 12 health curriculums. The bill (S2861) aims to enhance student understanding, attitudes, and behaviors related to mental health to promote well-being. Governor Murphy also took action on legislation (S3160) that will require the Department of Education to establish a four-year pilot program testing later school start times for high school students.…

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AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera statement on proposed attacks on public worker pension and health insurance

“While uncertain economic times means elected leadership must make difficult decisions, New Jersey residents are already suffering at least partly because of President Trump’s elimination of the State and Local Taxes deduction as punishment for voting against him and his party.

If New Jersey’s elected leadership believes the appropriate response is to further penalize those of us who work in the public sector—including dedicated teachers, caring nurses and courageous first responders—in order to give tax breaks to millionaires, they are governing in a very irresponsible manner and leading us in the wrong direction.…

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AFTNJ’s Chiera Calls For Expanding Access To Drivers’ Licenses For Immigrants

EDISON…Extending access to drivers’ licenses to undocumented immigrants in New Jersey is good public policy, according to AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera. “This will help make our roads safer, benefit our economy and enable hard-working New Jerseyans to commute to work and support their families,” said Chiera. “As a classroom teacher from a school district with more than 90 percent Latino students, I know parents need to be able to pick up their children from school and transport them safely through normal childhood activities without fear.”…

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Rutgers Faculty Reject Report Recommending More Athletics Spending

Rutgers’ management chose the run-up to Super Bowl weekend to release a damning report that reveals how much money the university is losing on Athletics. “Perhaps they were hoping we would not notice that their plan robs from our educational mission, gouges our students and saddles them with greater debt to subsidize a mismanaged Athletics program,” said Deepa Kumar, President of the faculty and grad union, Rutgers AAUP-AFT.…

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Resolution In Support Of Federal Workers By The Raritan Valley Community College Faculty Federation

“As the new Congress is sworn in, the current House should add one fundamental issue to the many, including doing what it can to end the shutdown and restore lost pay to federal workers, that necessitate action. Congress should put politics aside and grant fair raises to federal workers. At a recent faculty meeting, my colleagues and I at RVCC issued a resolution to that effect and now is the time for implementation,” said business professor Pattiann Kletz, president of the faculty union.…

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American Federation of Teachers NJ Endorses Bob Menendez for U.S. Senate

The American Federation of Teachers New Jersey has released its endorsement of Senator Bob Menendez for U.S. Senate.

“I am incredibly proud to have the support of the tens of thousands of dedicated educators and AFT members across New Jersey,” said Sen. Menendez. “Education is the key to unlocking a child’s full potential, and when we invest in our teachers, we invest in the next generation of leaders and innovators.…

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AFTNJ On Governor’s Call To Curb Health Insurance Cost Excesses

SEHBP agreement to yield savings for members and state

AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera said, “New Jersey’s skilled and dedicated educators, healthcare professionals and public workers deserve quality health care and this agreement is a step in the right direction. We look forward to working with Governor Murphy and the legislature to curb what the Governor terms as the harmful aspects of Chapter 78 legislation.…

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AFT New Jersey Supports Emphasis on ‘Teaching Not Testing;’ Reduction of High Stakes Impact of PARCC

AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera said, “Teachers should be able to focus on educating the whole child to be successful in college or career; to be well-rounded as developing citizens. Reducing the emphasis on teaching to the test means that classroom educators can innovate and personalize lessons to students’ needs. We appreciate having a Department of Education that listened to educators’ voices and made the appropriate decision to reduce the weight of PARCC scores on teacher evaluations.…

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Press: AFT New Jersey on moving away from high-stakes testing

Contact: Nat Bender, 908-377-0393, nbender [at]

AFT New Jersey President Donna M. Chiera said, “Today, Governor Murphy took the first step in returning students to classrooms where the focus is on teaching—not just testing. These proposals will allow students to be engaged in a rich, rigorous, broad curriculum rather than one narrowed down to where attention is only focused on tested subjects.…

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Workers Striking Across Country in Face of Attack on Public Sector

AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera said, “Being forced into a strike is always the last resort for workers—the dedicated school system in West Virginia and graduate workers at the University of Illinois—are no exceptions. I am an educator first and hate for any child to miss school, but the long-term benefits of having a better education system in West Virginia are worth the short time schools remain closed.…

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Chiera On Appointment of Zakiya Smith Ellis for Secretary of Higher Education

AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera said: “We believe that higher education is a public good and encourage Governor Murphy to make sure that the incoming Secretary of Higher Education has the support and tools to make higher education more readily available to New Jersey students and families. As the largest higher education union in New Jersey, we have long advocated for more coordination at the state level so that our schools have incentives to cooperate and collaborate rather than competing for resources and in programs.…

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Brookdale Community College Adjunct Faculty Unionize

EDISON…More than 450 adjunct faculty at Brookdale Community College have voted to unionize and join the largest higher education union in the state, according to Joan Carroll, who teaches math at the school and is a member of the new union’s leadership team.  “We stuck together and now have our unified official voice for interacting with Brookdale’s administration along with a forum of communication among adjuncts,” Carroll said.…

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Chiera on the Appointment of Dr. Lamont Repollet for Commissioner of Education

“We are grateful to have a Governor with whom we share a vision for education policy that strengthens schools as vital centers for communities, shifts emphasis away from high stakes testing and respects the voices of educators. With a commitment from the state to provide the necessary resources, an accomplished and experienced Commissioner in Dr. Repollet, and the education community working together, we are highly optimistic in a brighter future for New Jersey’s students and families.”…

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