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Leadership Changes in the Offing for State Teachers Union

President and executive director both poised to step down from NJEA posts

NJ Spotlight

The New Jersey Education Association, the state’s dominant teachers union and among the most powerful state labor unions in the country, is about to go through a big leadership change, with both its president and executive director planning to step down.

Vincent Giordano, a longtime executive in the union and its director since 2007, has told internal staff and his top officers that he will retire in December, following the upcoming gubernatorial and legislative election. (more…)

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Charter Schools Arrive … at Well-Attended Conference in Atlantic City

Event’s biggest turnout yet underscores growth of alternative education in New Jersey

By John MooneyApril 17, 2013
NJSpotlight.com

It’s nothing compared to the annual teachers convention or even the yearly gathering of school-board members from around the state, but New Jersey’s charter schools are starting to make their presence known on the Atlantic City convention circuit. (more…)

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NJEA Convention Returns To Atlantic City. A Focus On Student Equality And Teacher Quality

Equal educational opportunity and high quality teacher evaluation will be front and center at the 158th annual NJEA Convention November 8-9 in Atlantic City. Thousands of educators will attend sessions featuring educator and social justice advocate Jonathan Kozol, teacher evaluation expert Charlotte Danielson, and state Commissioner of Education Christopher Cerf. (more…)

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NJEA to stand with Christie on tenure bill

MIDDLESEX — The president of New Jersey’s largest teachers union will appear with Gov. Chris Christie as he signs a bill to overhaul the state’s teacher tenure system.

Monday’s bill-signing is a rare moment of cooperation for Christie and New Jersey Education Association President Barbara Keshishian. (more…)

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Newark schools chief, teachers union clash over seniority

NEWARK — Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson’s formula for boosting student achievement in struggling schools is built on a simple concept — allowing principals to select their teaching staff regardless of seniority.

The union representing Newark teachers, however, believes the practice invites favoritism and puts older, more experienced teachers at a disadvantage. It plans to file a labor-relations complaint with the state if schools are not staffed based on seniority this fall. (more…)

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Hearings on Teacher Tenure Reform Delayed — For Now

Assembly and Senate committees wary to move as Christie warns he will veto ‘water-downed’ bill.

The drama over a teacher tenure reform in New Jersey continues to twist and turn, as legislators jockey for position and Gov. Chris Christie makes clear his opinion, if not his precise intentions.

Much of the latest guessing arose this week with the sudden postponement of education committee meetings on Monday in both the Senate and Assembly. (more…)

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Kean & Lesniak: “NJEA Executive Director’s Callous Remarks Make the Case for Opportunity Scholarship Act”

Senator Tom Kean, Jr. and Senator Raymond Lesniak said today that dismissive comments made by NJEA Executive Director Vincent Giordano about school children in chronically failing districts make a compelling case for school choice.When asked about children in failing districts whose families did not have the resources to pay for private education, Mr. Giordano responded, “Life’s not always fair and I’m sorry about that.”

Kean and Lesniak are prime sponsors of the Opportunity Scholarship Act (OSA), which would provide privately funded scholarship grants to children in consistently low performing districts to attend a public or private school of their choice.

“Mr. Giordano’s remarks in opposition to OSA show a startling contempt for children and parents of limited means who are forced into failing schools by virtue of their zip code,” said Kean (R- Union). “His remarks, however, actually strengthen the argument in favor of the bill: that the educational establishment is not able or interested in providing an immediate remedy for students in these districts.”

Kean said that OSA does not abandon public education. Rather, it recognizes that long term structural changes are needed to fully address deficiencies in chronically failing schools. “Children should not be condemned to a subpar education while their schools are being improved; a process that will take a great deal of time,” he said.

“Life is only unfair when we don’t have the courage to change the things we can,” said Senator Lesniak (D- Union), “And it will continue to be unfair as long as those with the ability to do something to make it fair stand idly by and become resigned to the unfairness. Children from poor families forced to go to chronically failing schools deserve an opportunity to get a quality education. They deserve better from all of us.”

Both Senators plan on reintroducing the legislation, which was not considered by the full Senate last session.

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AFC Condemns Insulting Comments From Teachers Union Leader

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — AFC Condemns Insulting Comments From Teachers Union Leader

NJEA executive director to poor families: “Life’s not always fair”

The leader of New Jersey’s largest teachers union dismissed the plight of low-income families across the state who are in desperate need of high-quality educational choices, saying in a recent local television interview that “life’s not always fair” while arguing against giving expanded educational options to students trapped in failing schools. (more…)

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