Survey: Continued online learning would pose challenges to student-professor dynamic

More than 70 percent of current college students say getting proper instruction from professors or instructors and being able to easily interact with them would be challenging if learning were to continue online, according to a recently released survey.

“And while students are overall satisfied with how their institutions managed the online learning transition during the pandemic, many are still doubtful about the value of their degrees and of higher education in general,” the survey’s conclusion reads in part. …

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AFTNJ endorses Gov. Murphy, Democratic legislative leadership team for reelection

The American Federation of Teachers New Jersey during its June 28 delegate assembly meeting voted to endorse Gov. Phil Murphy and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver for reelection this fall.

The AFTNJ is also endorsing Senate President Steve Sweeney (District 3) and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (District 19) for reelection.

“Over the past four years, New Jersey’s legislative leadership team of Murphy, Oliver, Sweeney and Coughlin listened and respected the voices and concerns of working families and their unions,” said AFTNJ President Donna M.…

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Newark teacher Cepeda relies on visuals in her bilingual special education classes

Bilingual special education teacher Mily Cepeda, who was born and raised in Newark, was hired in fall 2019 by Newark Public Schools to teach at the Louise A. Spencer School.

And once the pandemic hit, Cepeda quickly made the transition to teaching from her home.

“After live classes, I would spend several hours each day recording videos in Spanish and in English of lessons and telling students how to do their homework step by step,” she says in an interview with Chalkbeat Newark’s Caroline Bauman.…

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Using summer to recharge after long school year

Kimberly Rues, a PreK-6 librarian in Missouri, has her summer plans in place after finishing what she describes as “the longest year of my teaching career,” she writes in a column for EdSurge.

Her agenda includes “time to tend my flowers, lunch with the girls, walks with the dog.”

Rues writes, “One thing I know beyond a shadow of a doubt: In order to support my teachers, in order to make a difference for kids, in order to bring my best self to the job and support my administration, I have to take time to recharge.”…

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Cardona faces lawmakers and students in separate virtual events

U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel A. Cardona recently fielded questions from two very different audiences, both wanting answers about Department of Education policies and plans.

“I come to you today with a great sense of urgency,” Dr. Cardona said in his opening comments during a June 24 virtual hearing before the House Committee on Education and Labor.…

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AFT joins forces with NAACP, First Book to stamp out racism

The AFT has partnered with the NAACP and First Book for the campaign “Stamping Out Racism and Hate,” which officially launches in July with a special AFT edition of the Jason Reynolds-Ibram X. Kendi book “Stamped.”

“The authors lay out the pervasiveness and insidiousness of racism in our lives, even as the history and legacy of racism often are left out of what we are taught and told,” writes AFT President Randi Weingarten in a note included in the special edition.…

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Report: About half of teen students had opportunity to discuss racism at school

According to a recent report from the education organization America’s Promise Alliance, 55 percent of U.S. high school students say they had opportunities to discuss race and racism “sometimes” or “a great deal” at school.

The survey was administered over a six-week period in March and April, and respondents were students ages 13-19 who were enrolled in high school in the United States during the 2020-21 school year.…

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AFT throws support behind effort to repeal SALT

Two days after attending New Jersey Rep. Mikie Sherrill’s Summer of SALT campaign kickoff in Woodland Park, AFT President Randi Weingarten on June 23 participated in a Washington, D.C., event in support of the Sherrill-led effort to repeal the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap that affects New Jersey and other high-tax states.

Also on hand was Rutgers University professor and Rutgers AAUP-AFT member Patrice Mareschal, who said the SALT cap has increased her taxes, adding that it is a “gut punch” to middle-class families.…

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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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