School districts have begun to hear from teachers who are requesting to retire early or refusing to return to the classroom during the coronavirus pandemic. Others are asking to teach only from home because they or one of their relatives have health problems. That is raising questions about whether there will be enough certified teachers to teach during the 2020-2021 school year under the state’s new rules limiting the number of students in each classroom, said Steve Beatty, secretary-treasurer of the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union. “That is a real question of whether or not we will physically have enough educators that will return ... That is a growing concern,” Beatty said. The NJEA was among nearly a dozen state and national groups that released a report Thursday, titled “A National Call to Action,” calling on public health agencies to help states come up with more detailed plans to protect students and teachers as schools prepare to reopen. Read More Here
NORTH PLAINFIELD-- The North Plainfield Education Association (NPEA) plans to turn out in force this Wednesday, May 13, at the District’s virtual mercury town hall meeting to urge the Board of Education to take immediate action. Since 2018, the NPEA has been fighting for the removal of mercury-laden gym floors in two district schools. With the help of industrial hygienists from the Work Environment Council (WEC) and the New Jersey Education Association’s (NJEA) Healthy Schools Now network, the NPEA discovered the middle school gym floor had mercury levels high enough to require removal as hazardous waste. Read more here.
According to a recent Gallup poll, 42% of parents worry about the impact COVID-19 will have on their children’s education. Despite the fact that New Jersey school districts are adapting and educators have gone above and beyond, altering lesson plans and creating virtual classrooms overnight, students have encountered difficulties learning in this current climate. In response, New Jersey lawmakers have developed a task force to follow the impact of education from COVID-19. There are a number of issues this pandemic has brought to the forefront that the task force should address to ensure all students are receiving an equitable education. New Jersey school districts first faced the challenge of providing computers to students in order to access online learning. While wealthier districts were able to fulfill this request, low- and moderate-income districts have struggled to supply this resource, further contributing to inequity in the classroom which already exists. Even once supplied, parents who lack computer knowledge have struggled to assist their children as they navigate new online learning programs. This, coupled with internet access and internet stability, has made distance learning a virtual nightmare for many families putting at-risk students at an even greater disadvantage. Read the full Opinion-Editorial in northjersey.com from Heather Sorge, HSN Campain Manager, WEC [...]