May 14: Fun Night At The Ball Park

Somerset Patriots Vs. Lancaster Barnstormers
Bring the Whole Family
Saturday May 14 7:05 pm
Sponsored by AFTNJ COPE Proceeds benefit AFTNJ Nick Yovnello Social Justice Scholarship Fund
Tickets $36 each Includes: All you can eat BBQ of Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, BBQ Chicken, Potato Salad, Chips, Cookies, Soft Drinks
Limited number of tickets available First come first serve.…

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Racial gap in college grad rates grows nationwide

by Jonathan Lai, Staff Writer

College graduation rates are generally rising across the country. That’s the good news.

Less positive: Gaps remain between the graduation rates of black students and white students, and in some cases those gaps have increased, according to a new report.

Some local schools have done well, with Rutgers University’s New Brunswick and Newark campuses both shrinking the black/white gap in graduation rates.…

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Kean Univ. agrees to a new look at racial bias; first reviewer was found to have criminal record

By Patricia Alex and Abbott Koloff, Staff Writers, The Record.

Bowing to political pressure, Kean University has agreed to an outside review of racial bias charges made by a coalition of black ministers after the consultant originally hired to examine the claims was found to have a criminal record and questionable résumé.

The school will now retain retired New Jersey Supreme Court Justice John E.…

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Racism at Kean U? Let’s ask the bank robber | Moran

By Tom Moran, Star-Ledger Editorial Board

Mark this down as Lesson #1 from Kean University’s fumbling response to charges of racism at the school:

Do NOT hire a former bank robber with a phony resume to conduct your internal investigation — even if he calls himself a minister.

This actually happened. It is the latest twist in a story that is bizarre even by New Jersey standards.…

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Kean U agrees to hire Sweeney’s auditor for discrimination investigation

By Jessica Remo, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

justice-wallace-bar-associationjpg-02ad7fb4358b8b8d_large.jpg
Former Supreme Court Justice John Wallace speaks after being recognized for his years of service during the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Annual Meeting and Convention in 2010. (Noah K. Murray/The Star-Ledger)

UNION — The drama over whose consultant should review allegations of discriminatory employment practices at Kean University may have come to an end Friday, as the school’s president issued a statement agreeing to hire former state Supreme Court Justice John Wallace.…

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NJ panel devises plan aimed at making college more affordable

By Patricia Alex, Staff Record, The Record.

A state commission looking at the issue of college affordability is likely to recommend that high school seniors graduate with at least a semester of community college credits, the panel’s chairman said Wednesday.

The students could continue on at community college before heading off to a four-year school – a strategy that could reduce the cost of a baccalaureate degree from a state college by more than half to around $20,000, said Fred Keating, the chairman of the commission and president of Rowan College at Gloucester.…

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Cashing in on Kids: Corporate Lobbying Powerhouse ALEC Pushed 172 School Privatization Bills Last Year

By Brendan Fischer, PR Watch

[…]

“Opportunity Scholarships,” introduced in four states — Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, and New Mexico — earmark vouchers for students in schools deemed “failing.”

The similar Smart Start Scholarship Program, introduced in four states — Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Tennessee — offers vouchers for pre-school and kindergarten on a sliding scale starting with families eligible for reduced price school lunches.…

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Volunteer to Save State Pensions

The labor movement is counting on you to ensure that we pass the Constitutional Amendment to guarantee that the state makes quarterly payments into the Pension Fund.  All unions working with the Coordinated Table are strongly encouraged to provide volunteers for labor walks between 9:00 am – 12:00 pm each Saturday in April and May at the staging locations listed below.…

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Layoffs at Mercer College Could Impact Tech Education Services

Institutional knowledge; commitment to campus community at risk

CONTACT: Nat Bender, nbender [@] aftnj.org 908-377-0393

WEST WINDSOR…After working 36 years at Mercer County Community College, Tony Bruzaitis is facing an uncertain future and concerned about continuity of critical instructional technology services for faculty, staff and students. “I love what I am doing and would like to continue to interact with faculty to identify the appropriate technologies to support student success,” he said.…

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The Record: Chaos at Kean

GOINGS-ON at Kean University seem only to grow more strange by the month. First there was the public university’s spending of $219,000 on a conference table. Then came charges of racial bias at the university. Then there was the review, now completed, into those bias allegations.

Now there is a call for an investigation of that review, and into the hiring of the consultant who led it: Michael Barry Blackwell, a former Westwood pastor who agreed to take on that task in January at a cost of $15,000.…

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17,000 Newark children to be tested for lead poisoning

By Dan Ivers | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

NEWARK – Some 17,000 children will be tested for potential lead poisoning after high levels of the chemical were found in nearly half of the its schools, officials revealed today.

Newark Department of Health Director Dr. Hanaa Hamdi told members of the City Council Tuesday that the tests will begin with approximately 2,000 toddlers who attend early childhood centers located at the 30 buildings were elevated levels of lead were found.…

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Tracking efforts to stop water contamination ‘extremely difficult’, Newark school chief says

By Dan Ivers | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

[…]

The comments came after the Newark Teachers Union, which also released the 2014 memo, distributed photos of lead reduction filters bearing installation dates as far back as 2012. The union claims the pictures were taken at 10 schools where water has not been deemed dangerous – which would violate the district’s instructions for filters to be changed roughly every six months.…

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Lead-Contaminated Water Found In Newark Schools Not A New Problem

Tom Johnson

District admits elevated lead levels detected in schools in past but not revealed to public

[…]

John Abeigon, president and director of the Newark Teachers Union, released pictures of 10 schools where high lead levels were not detected that purportedly showed expiration dates from 2009 to 2015 on filters installed on water fixtures. He called for federal intervention and investigation into “this ongoing health crisis.’’…

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Statement by Kean Federation of Teachers president James Castiglione about the need for an independent investigation of Kean University

Nat T. Bender, 908-377-0393, nbender [@] aftnj.org

Castiglione said:

“Integrity at New Jersey’s state colleges and universities is a bi-partisan concern. We support the calls for investigations into Kean University made by Senators Sweeney, Cunningham and O’Toole and thank them for their efforts to hold university’s administration and trustees accountable to the citizens of New Jersey.…

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