JERSEY CITY EDUCATION ASSOCIATION 1600 JOHN F KENNEDY BOULEVARD JERSEY CITY NJ 07305 201.435.6600 FAX 201.435.4623 WWW.JCEA.ORG
We are fast approaching the Silver Anniversary (25th Year) of the NJ State 5-Year Takeover Plan of our public schools. “I am tired of you people!” (1989-2014) so much for lesson planning Just so you know, there is nothing in this edition about any breaking news pertaining to emails and/or documents that show rising internal skepticism at the Port Authority, reckless top Chris Christie aides, and an elaborate fiction to mask political payback. There is also nothing in this issue about the Ft Lee PD and EMS that had difficulty responding to: a missing child (later found) and a cardiac arrest, a Port Authority email reported that first morning. There is also nothing predicting the end of Chris Christie’s political career.
OCCUPY Board of Education Meetings Next Up: January 16 - 6:00 PM at PS #11
A Special Open Enrollment Period
President 1st Vice President 2nd Vice President 3rd Vice President Corresponding Secretary Financial Secretary/Treasurer
Ronald Greco Jr. Andrea Pastore Tina M. Thorp Charlene Bini Michael Franco Eileen Cleary-DiPrima
MEMBERS AT LARGE
Edward Fauerbach Tanea Felder Colleen Kelleher Joseph Kelly Donna Middlebrooks Susan Murphy Kara Schultz Iris Townes Wade Smith Peter Zampella
Jersey City Education Association 1600 John F Kennedy Boulevard Jersey City New Jersey 07305 Phone 201.435.6600 Fax 201.435.1111
www.jcea.org Office Staff
Marilyn Molina-Douglas Marisol Cifuentes
tCap Media LLC 26 W 27th St Bayonne NJ 07002
for the NJEA Disability Plan/Prudential is coming soon. Representatives from EIS (Educators Insurance Services) will be visiting your school over the next couple of months to educate members on the importance of protecting your paycheck. School employees are NOT covered by NJ State Disability, once your sick ckk days are exhausted your urr income will STOP.
Dear Colleagues The 2013-14 school year has shaped up drastically different from the last years. Whether you are a teacher, an assistant, a para-professional teacher aide or an administrator, you have witnessed changes thrust upon you with lightning speed. The NJ Department of Education has a “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” mentality. Like many states around the nation, New Jersey’s Dept. of Ed is run by folks who have never taught, are corporate-minded business folks, and take their lead from such individuals and groups as Eli Broad, Bill Gates, Governor Christie, the Waltons (owners of Wal-Mart), Teach for America, and the like. I have gone to Trenton to attend the September, October and December NJ State Board of Education meetings. It is amazing and quite appalling to sit and watch the members of the State Board vote, pass policy and implement sweeping changes to 18A without consulting anyone who works with children or in a school. It is truly mind boggling. I spoke to two State Board members who were not even clear about what an SGO is. It is truly astonishing, yet, unfortunately, believable. We live in an era in which politicians and hedge fund managers, cloaked in their “robes of reform,” spew such words as accountability, growth percentiles, metrics, student growth objectives and many other buzz words. This all sounds great to the regular citizens, who, because they are not educators, have no idea what teaching entails. Meanwhile the educators in the schools (the trained, experienced professionals in the field) are never consulted about anything to do with teaching youngsters. We live in an age where corporate greed and conglomerates such as Pearson and ALEC dictate educational policy from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. They are also huge political donors to all parties. On a positive note, in 2013 educators, parents and their allies chalked up a number of legislative and political victories on behalf of students and public education. These include forcing the Seattle superintendent to declare optional a misapplied standardized test in response to a community boycott, taking back the Bridgeport, Conn., school board from corporate ed reformers, turning back a parent trigger bill in Florida pushed by for-profit charter school chains, defeating a Virginia gubernatorial candidate who supported taxpayer-funded vouchers and parent trigger laws, and passing bond measures in Laredo, Texas, to reduce class size and upgrade classroom technology. Although this year saw many wins for public education, in 2014 extremist state legislators and governors are expected to continue their onslaught against educators, public education and working families, and their corporate backers and bill mills, led by the Koch brothers and the American Legislative Exchange Council, will continue to forge the way. The nation will, meanwhile, keep a watchful eye on New York City. With the election of its new mayor, Bill de Blasio, we may see the brakes put on this frenzied rush to test, test, test the students to no end. As he did during his election campaign, de Blasio promised to “reduce the focus on high-stakes testing and to institute a moratorium on new school closings.” With Carmen Farina, a veteran teacher and principal, as the next chancellor of the New York City public schools, I believe Bill de Blasio has acknowledged that parents and teachers are not the enemy. This is certainly something to watch, and I encourage all of you to do so. It appears as though more and more across the country, community leaders, parents and educators are realizing that there is no greater advocate for students and schools than themselves collaborating. It is not the so called “ed reformers” who push vouchers, charter school chains (the CEOs of which make hundreds of thousands of dollars), or education consultants who have never been inside a classroom since they graduated. It is the committed educators, community leaders, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles that make the difference between mediocre public schools and great public schools. When we all come together and support our children, and encourage them to carry on, we achieve great public schools for all children. In closing, I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. May 2014 be rewarding both professionally and personally. Know that we are here to support you, and the incredible job that you do each and every day on behalf of the wonderful, talented and amazing children of Jersey City. Best wishes, Ron
If you have incurred any late fees, or other costs due to Pay$Gate2013, when the district failed to pay us our salary on time, Please follow the three steps belowâ€Ś 1. Contact Brian Hinds immediately if you receive a letter, at email@example.com 2. Tell him you would like to see proof and an explanation of the overpayment. YOU do not have to scramble around looking for time sheets, fifth forms, coverage forms, whatever! 3. Once you verify if it is accurate, you set up a payment plan, on your terms, such as $50 per pay period.
NegotiationsUpdate I wanted to bring you up to date on negotiations, which are still ongoing. We have navigated through the contract book, page by page, with the board of education’s legal team. We’ve exchanged and received proposals on almost every area of the contract. There have been many proposals put on the table, which we will never agree to. There is language in our contract that has been there for 40+ years, and we’ve made it clear we are not agreeable to removing it. Some proposals are fair, and some are just insulting and ridiculous. We’ve received monetary proposals from the board, and will present our counter proposals, next. Remember, we must negotiate and stay within Governor Christie’s two percent cap on benefit costs and salaries, which, as you are aware, was enacted into law. Negotiating within the parameters of the new laws is much different than negotiating past contracts. However, we will press on for a fair and equitable contract. You are all professionals, and deserve a professional wage and respect for the most important job that you do! Over all, the process is moving very slowly. I am not sure who is behind the scenes steering the contract negotiations; Trenton, local politicians or both. I hope that you have been getting all of the negotiations updates. We went paperless and have sent all of them electronically. Go to www.jcea.org click the red box “sign up for email updates” and enter your home email, not your BOE email.
Downtown Water Main Break. Students sent home but teachers and staﬀ forced to stay. Who needs toilets?
“What was educationally significant and hard to measure has been replaced by what is educationally insignificant and easy to measure. So now we measure how well we taught what isn’t worth learning.” Arthur Costa Emeritus Professor California State University
The Column Folks, the contract is still in eﬀect. Except in Greenville of course; where that instructional leader may do what they please, LOL. Seriously, the contract is still in eﬀect. All language, rates of pay, duration of lunch periods, duties, assignments, etc are still in eﬀect. I must say 99% of the principals, AP’s and VP’s are respectful individuals, and honor the contract. It’s the same three dopes that do what they want, when they want and to whom they want. They’re just ignorant. Two of them were never teachers, so what do you expect? Speaking of wayward administrators; when any of the three roam oﬀ of the reservation, their respective associate super/director at central oﬃce command center helps them find their way back to the farm. This only lasts one to two days, at most, and then they roam again. Remember: “Be glad you have a job. You’re so stupid, no one else would hire you.” Now there’s a pearl of wisdom from another graduate of the lunar eclipse program. Taught one year, worked at central oﬃce command center for three years and launched right into administration. Do you have tenure in any previous position? Speaking of not having tenure in any previous position, LOL, they couldn’t cut the mustard as a teacher, so after the first year they were moved to a supervisory position. Downsizing of that bloated eight floor complex came, so they created administrative positions for them in a school with fewer kids than in my homeroom 206, in Lincoln, circa 1996. Now the other expert that couldn’t teach just landed an administrative gig in a place with fewer kids than nudge who lost their supervisory position. We just came back from the winter recess, worked one day before the snow storm, and I already can’t keep up with all of this! Beam me up Scotty. I’m still here. Oh, beam me up Dr. Savino, to the Enterprise Division, of course! We wish each and every one of you a happy, healthy, prosperous new year! May 2014 bring you continued success in both your professional and personal lives.
Lesson Plan Committee I met with Dr. Lyles to discuss lesson planning and she agreed to resurrect this dormant committee. Lesson plans, as you know firsthand, are out of control. You are generating pages upon pages that you do not refer to when delivering your instruction, to your pupils. You and I are well aware, that the lesson plan is a resource for you, the teacher, to refer to. They know resemble a corporate prospectus! In this data driven, corporate climate that has overtaken education, CEO’s, billionaire hedge fund managers, Bill Gates, WalMart’s Walton Family Foundation, Pearson and PTA moms decide how you will write lesson plans. I am pleased to announce that Dr. Lyles and I have convened the lesson plan committee so that the planning component of your job may be revisited. Representing the JCEA are three teachers, whom I am confident will get the job done. They are: Rachel Botnick from the Elementary level Colleen Kelleher from the Middle School level Carolyn Del Piano from the Secondary level Watch for news from these ladies…
Stay Tuned For This One STILL NO WORD FROM THE DISTRICT ON THIS… When the school district and the JCEA appeared before PERC on December 3, PERC gave the district two weeks to come up with a solution. To date, the district has ignored the hearing officer’s orders. We will be filing an appeal to have a decision rendered immediately by PERC, in our favor, since the school district has shown total disregard to our contract, AND to a N.J. State Agency. Once again, Jersey City does what Jersey City wants. Below is what I sent out, to you, in December.
The Down Low on 6-8 Here’s an up to the minute (30 of them, to be precise) update on the 6-8 report card debacle. In September, I noticed the Open House was scheduled for 6:30-8 and the report card sessions were scheduled for 6-8. I emailed Ms. Debra Shannon, the legal counsel at the Board of Education, and asked her to look into this. She reported back what I had suspected; that it was a typo on the calendar. “There was no intent to change what has been done in the past” Ms. Shannon wrote back to me. “Report card nights are 6:30-8 in both November and April.” Since Ms. Shannon represents the Superintendent, I gave it no thought after our email exchange. On Friday, October 18, 2013, Dr. Lyles telephoned the JCEA. During our conversation, she informed me that she would like report card sessions to actually be held from 6-8. I explained to her that I had discussed this with Her legal counsel, however, Dr. Lyles reiterated that she wished the report card sessions take place from 6-8. I suggested that we meet. We did; four times, in her office. She and I discussed many different possibilities regarding changing the time from 6:30-8 to 6-8 but did not come to a resolution. On December 3, we had a conference with the Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC) where we outlined our position, presented all evidence, and stated our desire to be compensated for the hourly rate for working in November, and to not work the extra half hour in April. We will keep you posted as to the progress in this case!
Hudson County Education Association News The jobs of school employees are governed by laws and regulations. Politics Matters! We need members to join the Legislative Action Team. It is a network of NJEA members who communicate legislative and political information to elected officials and to other NJEA members. The Legislative Team meets about 4 times during the school year. We work with Government Relations’ lobbyists and Uniserv representatives. We need everyone to be an active part of stopping the continuous attacks on us and our profession. Future meeting dates are January 23, 2014; March 20, 2014; and May 28, 2014. If you would like to join, please send your name and home e-mail address (not your jcboe address) to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you already receive notices about LAT meetings, there is no need to re-send your information. Looking forward to hearing from you. Stay Strong! Stay United! Andrea Pastore, President HCEA
Board Proposes to Streamline Public Comments The board of education, looking to streamline public comments in a manner critics say will undercut residents scrutiny, has proposed combining two five-minute comment periods into a single five-minute session near the start of the meeting. At the board›s Dec. 21 meeting, members voted 6-1 with one abstention on first reading for the change, with only Board Member Marilyn Roman voting no. In support were Board President Suzanne Mack and Trustees Carol Harrison-Arnold, Angel Valentin, Vidya Gangadin and Carol Lester. Board Member Gerald Lyons, whose term expired with Lester’s on New Year›s Day, abstained. The board is expected to schedule a second reading and final vote Jan. 16, meaning newly-elected members Micheline Amy, Ellen Simon and Jessica Daye, would have the opportunity to vote on the policy unless they opt to abstain. The three newest members were sworn in at the board’s Jan. 6 reorganization. The night marked the end of the terms of Carol Lester and Gerald Lyons, defeated in the November election. Sterling Waterman resigned with about two months left on his term in relocating to New York City. The proposal comes in the face of criticism that the board could be further trying to stifle expressions of dissent on a body where eight of nine members (except Valentin) were endorsed by Mayor Steven Fulop, though one, Marilyn Roman, has emerged as a harsh critic of some of Fulop’s concepts regarding school choice and education reform. Earlier, Board Attorney Ramon Rivera and Lester, a candidate Fulop endorsed but who lost to Valentin, suggested the board should consider deleting critical comments - that could be considered slanderous - from the tapes of meetings recorded for broadcast on the JCETV channel. At the board’s November meeting, parent Felicia Palmer warned that such a deletions policy could expose the board to litigation. In an earlier interview with JCEA.org, Board President Suzanne Mack said she would consider supporting discontinuing broadcasting board meetings, given the potential for abuse by future school board candidates who might seek to abuse the taped forums in seeking publicity throughout the year until the November elections. But supporters of the policy, including Lyons, who later abstained in part because he wanted to give the incoming members time to weigh in on the policy, insisted there were no conspiracies or hidden agendas to trying to cut the public’s time for addressing or questioning the board in half. Under existing policy, the board sets aside separate comment periods for agenda items at the beginning and general statements towards the end. The change would obviously ensure shorter meetings given the sought time consolidation. “The purpose was to streamline the process and allow anyone to speak on items before the various items come up,” Rivera said of the concept, which would assure those only seeking to make general statements leave the meetings earlier if they so chose. by Chris Neidenberg Read the complete report at www.jcea.org