Nowlan testifies for A5862; bill passed by Assembly Budget Committee

Some notable union figures testified June 22 at the New Jersey Assembly Budget Committee meeting in support of A5862 (the Responsible Collective Negotiations Act, also known as the “Janus 2” bill), among them Patrick Nowlan, Rutgers AAUP-AFT’s executive director.

“Expanding the scope of bargaining actually allows us to be more creative in what we’re doing and increases collaboration,” Nowlan said to the committee.…

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Diversity Dialogue: Building alliances, social justice and the future of unions

By Anthony Balzano

The recent Jane McAlevey book “A Collective Bargain: Unions, Organizing, and the Fight for Democracy” (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2020) acknowledges — although few sources give them credit — how unions fought to defeat a white supremacist candidate and pull Joe Biden across the finish line. This happened while certain politicians incited white nationalist fervor in response to the horrifying execution of George Floyd.…

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AFTNJ Special Report: Teachers, staff reflect on 2020-21 school year

It’s been an academic year defined by wearing masks and performing precautionary tasks, during which the need for sanitizer was eventually upstaged by the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines. It’s also been a period of time when “roomies” became “Zoomies,” as Newark Teachers Union President John M. Abeigon was fond of saying.

With summer break in full view, teachers and staff from the Perth Amboy, Newark, Garfield and North Bergen school districts look back at the challenges they faced during 2020-21.…

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Budget transparency, layoff registry among topics covered in latest AFTNJ-OSHE meeting

AFTNJ higher education leaders virtually met June 18 with New Jersey’s Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, with chief of staff Sandra Gilot West standing in for Secretary Dr. Brian Bridges.

Dr. Susanna Tardi, AFTNJ’s executive vice president/higher education and a William Paterson University professor, asked most of the questions. Among them was, “At some colleges and universities, fiscal transparency is sorely lacking.…

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Professor came around to liking Zoom

Samuel J. Abrams, a professor of politics at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, was skeptical at first about virtual teaching. But after three semesters using Zoom, Abrams realized that the platform “created some wonderful pedagogical moments for me and my students,” he writes in an advice column for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Read what else he liked about using Zoom for teaching here.…

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New N.J. law extends special education, related services to select students

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on June 16 signed legislation (S3434/A5366) that will offer an additional year of special education and related services to three classes of students with disabilities.

“These students would otherwise be aging out of our educational system because they will turn 21 years old during the 2020-21 or the 2021-22 or the 2022-23 school years,” Murphy said during his June 16 media briefing.…

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Survey: Stress higher among K-12 teachers than other workers

A much higher proportion of K-12 teachers reported frequent job-related stress and symptoms of depression than the general adult population, according to a RAND American Teacher Panel survey that was co-funded by the AFT and conducted in January and February.

In other key findings, nearly one in four teachers said that they were likely to leave their jobs by the conclusion of the 2020–21 school year, and mode of instruction and health were the highest-ranked stressors for teachers.…

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Repollet testifies on behalf of Kean University Act

Kean University President Dr. Lamont O. Repollet testified during the Senate Higher Education Committee meeting June 15 in support of S3811, also known as the Kean University Act, which would establish Kean as a public urban research university.

“So why is this legislation important for the state of New Jersey? The bill before you today would designate Kean University as the first public urban research university in the state of New Jersey and add Kean to the esteemed list of public research universities such as Rutgers, Montclair State, NJIT and Rowan,” Dr.…

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Murphy tackles tough questions from AFTNJ

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on June 14 virtually met with AFTNJ PreK-12 and higher education leaders to discuss the future of education in the state.

“I want to make sure I say this up front: I don’t take our partnership, your support for granted for one second, and I would love the opportunity to earn your endorsement for our reelection,” Murphy said in his opening comments.…

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Cardona recaps his recent 10-school tour in memo

Buildings with outdated ventilation systems and racial disparity in school enrollment were among the subjects Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel A. Cardona covered in a school-reopening memo he sent to Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff.

“I saw firsthand during my tour how difficult the school year has been for students, parents, teachers, and school staff,” Cardona wrote.…

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Recognizing and celebrating Juneteenth

Juneteenth — which in 2020 became a state and public holiday in New Jersey — “has never been explicitly taught in American history,” writes Dr. Lisa Thomas for the Share My Lesson section of AFT’s website.

“June 19, 1865, is the day all people living in the United States, including the formerly enslaved, were officially granted freedom,” Thomas writes.…

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Murphy signs bill with subcontracting protections for N.J.’s higher education workers

S2932/A4680, which provides subcontracting protections for workers at New Jersey’s public four-year institutions of higher education, was signed June 11 by Gov. Phil Murphy, his office said.

“Working collaboratively leads to results,” said AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera. “I appreciate the efforts of Senate President Steve Sweeney, a primary sponsor of this legislation, which gives workers at four-year colleges and universities the same protections as their colleagues in PreK to 12 and community colleges.…

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Castiglione is pleased with choice of Birdsell as new Kean provost, SVP

Kean University has named Dr. David S. Birdsell as its new provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, effective Aug. 1.

“Throughout our thorough and inclusive search process, Dr. Birdsell established himself as an accomplished scholar and visionary leader with a deep respect for and understanding of traditional shared governance and its role in achieving academic excellence,” said Kean Federation of Teachers (Local 2187) President Dr.…

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