February 17, 2015

Take Action.

Save Our Schools NJ

Please ask the New Jersey Department of Education to cease its campaign of misinformation and intimidation against its own citizens!

CLICK HERE to take action

Numerous School Boards and Superintendents have reported that the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) has engaged in inappropriate actions intended to intimidate school districts into adopting punitive policies towards children whose parents opt them out of the upcoming PARCC high-stakes standardized tests.

These actions include:

  • Threatening school districts with the loss of federal aid if less than 95% of their students participate in PARCC testing. There is no reason to believe that the US Department of Education will withhold federal aid from schools because parents refuse the PARCC tests for their children.
  • Telling school districts that poor participation rates on PARCC tests will result in poor scores on the NJ School Performance Reports that are issued by the NJDOE.
  • Suggesting that the NJDOE would punish school districts not meeting the 95% participation rate with onerous corrective action plans.
  • Telling school board members that adopting a humane refusal policy could be considered an ethics violation by the School Ethics Commission.
  • Telling school districts that they could face sanctions if it appears as if a district or a Board of Education is encouraging families to refuse taking the PARCC in any way.

These actions are intended to intimidate school districts into adopting punitive policies towards children whose parents refuse the PARCC tests.

Please CLICK HERE to ask the New Jersey Commissioner of Education to cease immediately this campaign of misinformation and intimidation against the people of New Jersey!

Thank you for all that you do to protect our children and our public schools!


February 11, 2015

It literally took me :)

fifteen seconds to

submit my response

to our representatives!

Save Our Schools NJ


Will our children be forced to take high-stakes standardized tests for another decade?

Will our public schools lose more funding and more instructional time to such tests?

Will our children’s days be filled with test preparation instead of creativity and real learning?

Will the public school curriculum continue to be narrowed?

Will teachers be forced to spend more time teaching to tests that determine if they may keep their jobs and if schools may stay open?

►►►Please click HERE to take action!◄◄◄

Right now, the US Congress is deciding the future of high-stakes standardized testing for the next decade or longer.

Please ask your US Representative and Senators to:
1) End the punitive sanctions currently associated with high-stakes standardized tests

Stop defunding and closing public schools & firing teachers based on standardized test scores!

2) End the annual standardized testing that is consuming our children’s education

Return to testing once in elementary, middle and high school, as was the case before 2001. Thank you for all you do to protect our children and our public schools!

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February 3, 2015

Negotiations Update: February 3, 2015



“We worked hard to resolve”

“We met on 8 separate occasions”

  • We are not aware of any time the Superintendent and Business Administrator attended negotiations or were present to answer questions that could expedite the process.
  • Most sessions-time were used by BOE for their private caucusing- the SEA did their homework- the BOE was less prepared.
  • We met 9 times -most meetings less than an hour

The SEA refused to negotiate in summer

“The board thought that this offer was fair and reasonable.”

  • Board said at June 9th negotiation meeting: “We won’t go above 2%.” Over 3 years-2%, 2%, 2% vs. state avg. of 2.5%.
  • The last negotiation, June 18th, SEA tried to cont. negotiation on other issues –the board said there’s no point if we would not accept their numbers -their offer remained the same (6% total over 3 years) -impasse was declared at this meeting

“The board never proposed the longevity increment be abolished for existing staff members, only new hires.”

  • Over the last decade, the BOE has proposed numerous changes that limit longevity pay: freezing the amount, changing “longevity” to “Years of Service Award”, disqualifying time not worked in Somerville. Now all new employees would be ineligible under new contract. This sets up unequal and divided treatment of employees.

The SEA rejected settlement offer (post mediation) 

“The board hopes to responsibly and sensibly resolve the collective bargaining agreement issues and will continue to work toward this goal.”

  • Counter proposals are not rejections
  • BOE sent 5-pt. proposal on 1/13
  • SEA countered with 6-pt. proposal on 1/15 (accepted some proposals and offered counter proposals for others)
  • Our proposal asks the BOE to cont. negotiation -so far they are unwilling.

Superintendent stated no cuts to arts and music programs

  • Proposed SMS schedule has drastic cuts to both

SEA STATEMENT: While our members’ salaries have been frozen for three years, our pay scale has dropped each year, nearing the bottom of the county. The average gross salary fell $2,391.82 dollars in the last year alone when steps were “frozen.”  The real issue is getting our dynamic, younger staff to stay: the board’s tactics demonstrate indifference, not “fair and reasonable.”

January 18, 2015

Update 2015

1) All SEA members, please join us at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night starting at 7:00pm.

2) Our January SEA rep council meeting will be taking place at the Somerset County Education Association office.  We will be conducting our usual rep council meeting.  We’ll also be providing any updates and clarifications on negotiations.

3) The SCEA office is located at 1140 rt 22 east.  From SHS to the SCEA office is approximately a one-mile trip down rt 22 east.