Please send these emails to support educators, students and our public schools…Then share this page with your colleagues!
TAKE NJ ACTION #1: Stop the NEW PLAN to force students to take standardized tests: The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) proposed updated regulations on assessment that would require students to sit for and fail the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment prior to being permitted to access the alternate pathways and the portfolio process during the 12th grade. This change, if approved, would negatively impact students’ ability to graduate. The NJDOE released the proposed regulations on April 5 and the State Board of Education (SBOE) was scheduled to vote on these regulations at the April 7 SBOE meeting. However, because of NJEA’s and our partner organization’s advocacy work, acting Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan pulled the item from the April SBOE agenda. However, at the May 5 SBOE meeting, the NJDOE may forge ahead with a final vote on this substantial change without seeking public comment. This is unacceptable and violates the requirement for public commentary when a substantial change is made to proposed regulations. Urge Gov. Murphy, acting Commissioner Allen-McMillan, and the State Board of Education to both eliminate the sitting requirement to access the portfolio process and to honor the regulatory process by seeking public comment when substantial changes are being made.
TAKE NJ ACTION #2: Accidental Death Benefits to Educators Who Worked & Died During Covid: New Jersey has experienced many deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the vast majority of educators have been safe during this time, sadly, we have lost some to the virus. A5011 (Wimberly)/S3284 (Greenstein) would provide accidental death benefits to educators who worked in-person and died from COVID-19. While nothing can compensate for the loss of a loved one, ensuring their families receive the extra benefits will be a financial help. Write to your members of the legislature and ask them to co-sponsor this important legislation.
TAKE NATIONAL ACTION #3: Support S. 51 to make Washington, D.C. the 51st state: Taxation without representation was the rallying cry for the American Revolution, yet 245 years later it endures in our nation’s capital. It is time to correct this historic injustice and make the District of Columbia the 51st state. The denial of full representation in Congress—and therefore, full citizenship—in a city nearly half Black is egregious given our nation’s history of suppressing the Black vote. No other democracy denies its citizens equal representation because of where they live. (FYI: Washington DC has more people than the states of Vermont & Wyoming & population on par with Alaska & North Dakota!) Email your senators and tell them to support statehood for the District of Columbia.
TAKE NATIONAL ACTION #4: Cosponsor President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, released March 31, includes modernizing K-12 public schools, upgrading the community college infrastructure, and improving child care facilities. It’s a good start, but Improvements and increased investments are needed given the magnitude of the challenges we face: 50,000 school buildings that are more than 50 years old, outmoded HVAC systems, and limited access to high-speed broadband sufficient for digital learning, especially in rural areas. NEA supports the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act (S. 96/H.R. 604), which would create a $100 billion grant program and $30 billion tax-credit bond program targeting high-poverty schools whose facilities pose health and safety risks to students and staff. It would also restore Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs) that can be used to finance school renovations, repairs, and investments in technology at below-market rates—sometimes, as low as zero. Email your senators and representative and urge them to cosponsor the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act.
TAKE NATIONAL ACTION #5: Cancel the student loan debt of public sector workers with 10 years of service. Created in 2007, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program was designed to encourage college graduates to pursue careers in education, health care, firefighting, and other forms of public service. The program promised to wipe away federal student debt after 120 qualifying monthly payments—10 years’ worth of payments. Instead, under the failed leadership of the previous administration, the Department of Education rejected 98 percent of the PSLF applications filed since 2017, when the first public sector workers became eligible for relief. Email Education Secretary Cardona and tell him to provide relief NOW.