Joint statement from AFTNJ’s Donna M. Chiera, Bob Braun and NTU’s John Abeigon announcing ‘Friend of Education’ award for Braun’s journalism

Contact: Nat Bender, 908-377-0393

EDISON…Journalist Bob Braun is being honored by the American Federation of Teachers New Jersey for his continued coverage of education policy issues in New Jersey and particularly in its largest district—Newark. Braun wrote for the Star-Ledger for nearly 50 years, serving as education editor for nearly 30 years and senior news columnist covering a wide range of issues. In 1972 he wrote Teachers and Power, a critical look at the American Federation of Teachers. He now publishes, focusing on education, taxes, housing, immigration and politics.

“Bob tells stories that convey the challenges students, concerned parents and teachers face in working to improve the education system and their communities,” said AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera. “He continues a fine tradition of advocacy journalism intended to illuminate, question conventional wisdom and challenge abusive authority. Bob articulates an informed education policy position considering external factors that influence performance and stimulating the difficult conversations necessary to improve the system.”

“I have been critical of the AFT in the past and it is a measure of the union’s generosity of spirit and perspective that it has chosen to welcome me to the fold of those it considers friends of education,” said Braun. “In the past, we disagreed on what was best for public education. Now we are united in recognizing a dire threat to the very existence of public education from alleged reformers who are the willing tools of rightwing ideologues and big money hustlers. Just look at Newark where an inept state regime is disrupting the lives of tens of thousands of children, parents, and school workers to implement an experiment in privatized education. I believe the AFT must take a lead role in fighting the well-organized and well-financed privatizers and, in whatever way I can, I will support that effort.”

“Bob has had his differences with the labor movement and teachers unions,” said John Abeigon, Newark Teachers Union Director of Organization, “but he always pushes us to do better. Through his regular column in the Star-Ledger, he was a voice for the disenfranchised and as an independent journalist he continues to serve up a generous helping of social justice to nourish the entire community.”


Follow Donna M. Chiera @dchieram
Follow Bob Braun @BobBraunsLedger