Solidarity aplenty in New Brunswick as Rutgers unions rally for fair contracts

Undeterred by the steady rain, Rutgers University faculty, staff and students gathered Dec. 6 in New Brunswick for an outdoor rally to support Rutgers unions in their quests for fair contracts.

The Hub City rally, one of three held around the same time at the other main Rutgers campuses, began at Voorhees Mall. Among the speakers there was Rutgers AAUP-AFT member Todd Vachon, director of Rutgers LEARN and an AFTNJ higher education vice president.…

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AFT task force issues report on health worker shortage

The AFT Healthcare Staffing Shortage Task Force recently issued a report as part of the union’s ongoing effort “to improve our nation’s healthcare system and the working conditions our members endure,” as stated in the report’s introduction.

Among the components of the staffing shortage examined in the report are unsafe working conditions, inadequate compensation for frontline workers and insufficient worker voice and trust.…

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Arbitrator rules in favor of NTU in COVID quarantine grievance

The Newark Teachers Union (Local 481) scored a major victory Nov. 23 when arbitrator Robert C. Gifford ruled that Newark Public Schools must repay NTU members what the union estimates is about $1 million in salary and restore sick days with regard to COVID-related absences.

The case started on Oct. 13, 2021, when the NTU filed a grievance alleging that starting Jan.…

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U.S. DOE seeks public comment on Stronger Connections FAQs

Through Dec. 19, the U.S. Department of Education is seeking public comment on the draft FAQs related to the Stronger Connections grant program, which is part of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

Stronger Connections recognizes “that local evidence-based school safety and climate plans, along with other evidence-based strategies for creating safe, healthy and supportive schools, depend on meaningful engagement between school and LEA leaders and students, parents, families and community members, and strong relationships between students and adults,” reads the introduction to the draft.…

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Paradiso, Pereira join task force addressing N.J. teacher shortage

Perth Amboy Federation President Pat Paradiso and Newark Teachers Union member Silvia Pereira will be the AFT representatives on the task force Gov. Phil Murphy established via executive order to address the teacher and support staff shortage in New Jersey’s public schools.

“AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera recommended me for the task force, but I would have asked to be part of it had she not,” says Paradiso (above left), who is AFTNJ’s PreK-12 executive vice president.…

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Murphy establishes teacher shortage task force

Gov. Phil Murphy recently signed Executive Order No. 309, which establishes a task force to address the shortage of K-12 teachers and education support professionals in New Jersey.

Dennis Zeveloff, Murphy’s chief policy adviser, has been named the chair of the task force, which will include two AFT members.

According to EO 309, all public members of the task force “shall serve without compensation,” and they will “organize as soon as practicable after the appointment of its members, and shall convene as often as practicable and as requested” by Murphy or Zeveloff.…

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Raise the Bar supports career-connected learning

On Nov. 14, the U.S. Department of Education launched Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success, a Biden-Harris administration initiative supported by the Commerce and Labor departments designed “to strengthen the connection between K-12 education, postsecondary education and workforce programs,” according to the U.S. DOE.

“It’s time we bridge the divide between our K-12 systems and our college, career and industry preparation programs, which leave too many students behind and perpetuate inequities in our most diverse, underserved and rural communities,” said U.S.…

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Aoki to lead TeachRock class on growth mindset

DJ-producer Steve Aoki will discuss his experiences in the entertainment industry and share how he’s harnessed his creativity in the free course “Growth Mindset: Unlock Your Brain’s Neon Future,” taking place Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Created by the nonprofit educational resource TeachRock and hosted by Varsity Tutors, this 45-minute session is best suited for students in grades 5-12.…

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U.S. DOE’s ‘Raising the Bar’ series continues Nov. 10

In late October, the U.S. Department of Education launched its “Raising the Bar” literacy-math series to address academic recovery. Its next virtual session is set for Nov. 10 at 2 p.m.

The topic for Nov. 10 is “Best Practices and Research on Rigorous Instruction for all Students in Literacy and Mathematics,” and key features will include leveraging American Rescue Plan funding to implement literacy and math achievement best practices at scale.…

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County’s plans for Middlesex College projects draw ire from Chiera, Local 1940’s Payne

Middlesex County’s Community, Innovation, and Opportunity Strategic Investment Plan, unveiled Nov. 1 at Middlesex College in Edison, has prompted stern reactions from AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera and Local 1940 AFT President Pat Payne.

Middlesex College President Mark McCormick joined Gov. Phil Murphy and other New Jersey leaders for the rollout of the CIO plan, which is “designed to transform and bolster Middlesex College and … meet the diverse needs of the entire community,” per a Nov.

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