University financial oversight takes center stage at latest NJHELC-OSHE meeting

The New Jersey Higher Education Leadership Council on Feb. 25 held its first virtual meeting of 2022 with New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Brian Bridges. 

On the agenda were pandemic-related safety requirements, funding priorities for the 2022-23 budget and the development of a statewide higher education priority-hiring process for layoff victims, but the topic that received the most attention during the hourlong discussion was university financial oversight.…

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Art educators share positive experiences from pandemic-era remote teaching

Throughout the pandemic, art classes have been “a welcome escape” for some students, while for others, they’ve been “a critical release — an opportunity for self-expression at a time of extreme stress and isolation,” writes Daniel Lempres for EdSurge.

“At the forefront are art teachers themselves, who juggle these competing perspectives as they help guide students through a particularly challenging time,” he adds.…

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N.J. DOH issues updated COVID-19 guidance for K-12 schools, child care settings

With the school masking mandate set to expire March 7, the New Jersey Department of Health on Feb. 22 updated its public health guidance for K-12 schools and child care settings.

“While masks will not be required by the state, they remain an important part of a layered approach against COVID-19 and are recommended in certain circumstances,” said Judith Persichilli, New Jersey’s health commissioner, in a release.…

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Tips for teaching novels to resistant readers

In trying to teach her students “to read great novels while providing lessons that are accessible to [everyone], including those who appear unwilling to read,” high school teacher Ileana Sherry began following a method that allows all “to access the learning regardless of the page number they reach,” she writes for Edutopia.

For her five ways to enhance everyone’s reading experience, click here.…

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U.S. DOE seeks CGSA program applications

The U.S. Department of Education has started the application process for the Competitive Grants for State Assessments program. The purpose of the program is to enhance the quality of state assessment systems so they “better reflect the needs and experiences of our nation’s students and communities,” writes Donald Peasley, who leads the assessment team in the department’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.…

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AFT Local 1796 issues response to WP professor’s anti-union rhetoric

A recent online editorial by William Paterson University associate professor Colleen P. Eren — in which she claimed her union contract’s seniority clause that relates to layoffs is “irrational and unjust” — has prompted a detailed response from AFT Local 1796’s executive board.

In her piece “Amid Layoffs, Union Contracts Force Public Colleges to Ignore Merit,” Eren wrote that “last in, first out” (LIFO) policies — like the one she says is “buried” in her local’s contract — “are poised to become an issue of major concern as more colleges declare fiscal difficulties.”…

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Weingarten visits Newark, awards AFT stipends to students in teacher academy

AFT President Randi Weingarten visited Newark’s East Side High School on Feb. 14 to deliver news that the union will be issuing spring and summer stipends of $1,200 and $2,500, respectively, to each student in the school district’s AFT-supported dual-enrollment teacher academy program.

“We want to make sure that you can dream your dreams and achieve them,” Weingarten said.…

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Survey: Mental health of teachers, students among district leaders’ top concerns

A RAND Corp. survey released this month has found that as of November 2021, the top three concerns of 359 district leaders in the American School District Panel were the mental health of students, teachers and principals, respectively, write study co-authors Melissa Kay Diliberti and Heather L. Schwartz.

Another key finding: Three-quarters of district leaders said that political polarization about COVID-19 safety or vaccines has interfered with their ability to educate students during the current academic year.…

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Meeting series offers best practices for higher ed professionals

The recently launched For Your Institution is a virtual event series intended to assist collegiate professionals with navigating the higher education landscape.

Sessions began Feb. 1, and they will be held every other Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET into early December. On Feb. 15, the student engagement experts at Mongoose, which makes conversational software exclusively for higher education, will delve into the higher ed marketing trends to watch this year.…

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Deadline for final round of RRR grants is March 13

Applications for the final round of Return, Recover and Reimagine grants for the 2021-22 school year is March 13 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Priority will be given to locals that have not received an AFT Innovation Fund pandemic grant. Proposals can include projects focused on strategies to boost literacy, social and emotional learning strategies and culturally responsive pedagogy.…

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HELU winter summit set for Feb. 23-27

Higher Education Labor United will present its winter summit online from Feb. 23-27.

The summit will focus on three core tasks. One is coordinating the surge of higher education worker organizing across the country. Another is developing federal policy proposals to reverse trends that have damaged higher education in recent decades. And the third will be engaging in the political process by educating politicians and candidates on these issues and working to support those who will advance a program of democratizing higher education.…

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Complexity of teaching about slavery, race reflected in new poll

In the latest Mood of the Nation poll, “90 percent believe that schools have a responsibility to teach about slavery. That group is split, however, on whether contemporary racial issues should be taught,” write American Public Media Research Lab’s Elisabeth Gawthrop and Craig Helmstetter.

Among the other key findings:

  • 66 percent of Republicans believe that schools should teach about historical slavery, but not contemporary race relations.
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