Current Happenings!!

Agreement Reached on PARCC,


TO: All NJEA members
FROM: Wendell Steinhauer, NJEA President
RE: Agreement reached on PARCC, evaluations


Today, Governor Christie and the New Jersey Department of Education (DoE) announced an agreement on key issues related to PARCC testing, the Common Core, and teacher evaluation. NJEA was at the center of lengthy negotiations with legislators, the Christie administration and the DoE, which led to today’s announcement.

As you may know, NJEA members were lobbying hard to support S-2154, which would have delayed the use of PARCC assessments in teacher evaluations for up to two years. A Senate vote on the bill, which had already passed the Assembly (as A-3081) by a large, bipartisan majority, was scheduled for the afternoon of July 10, but was postponed in order to let negotiations continue between the DoE, NJEA, and legislative leaders.

Also included in S-2154 was the creation of a special Study Commission – including representatives of NJEA and other major stakeholders – to conduct a one-year study of the entire public education testing environment, including readiness for implementing PARCC to assess learning under the federal Common Core State Standards.

For months now, NJEA and its members have testified before the State Board of Education (BoE) about their concerns with the implementation of PARCC, Common Core, and Achieve NJ, the state’s new teacher evaluation system. Those of us in the classroom know that the entire process is dangerously out of synch. The new curricula to comply with the Common Core are not fully in place in most districts; many districts do not possess the technology (or the resources to acquire it) that is central to PARCC administration; and both teachers and administrators still have much work to do to develop and implement the key elements of the new evaluation system, particularly the development of Student Growth Objectives (SGOs).

Some observers – including NJEA members and parent advocacy groups – have expressed concern that the agreement that was reached (see below) does not allow for the possible enactment of S-2154, and its complete two-year delay in ANY use of PARCC assessments in evaluations.

But we all know that Governor Christie has a long history of vetoing legislation that he does not support, and there is every indication that he would veto S-2154, making its passage by the Legislature nothing more than a Pyrrhic victory, with no changes in the evaluation system heading into the 2014-15 school year. Instead, here are the three key elements of the agreement announced today:

  • In an Executive Order issued today, Gov. Christie announced the creation of a special Study Commission that will work for up to two years on all aspects of standardized testing in New Jersey’s public schools. Its members will be broadly representative of key stakeholder groups, including NJEA, Principals and Supervisors Association, and others. This Commission’s findings will be central to the second part of the agreement.
  • The DoE announced that in the 2014-15 school year, the percentage of Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs) that will be used for a teacher’s evaluation will be reduced from 30 to 10 percent, with SGOs accounting for 20 percent and observation of teacher practice 70 percent. Then, based on the first-year findings of the Commission, in the 2015-16 school year SGPs could count for up to 20 percent of an evaluation, SGOs another 20 percent, and teacher practice 60 percent or more, depending on Commission recommendations. For teachers who do not teach in tested subjects in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years, their evaluations will be based 20 percent on SGOs and 80 percent on teacher practice.
  • In addition, given the widespread evidence of problems with developing effective SGOs during the 2013-14 school year just concluded, a special process will be established for any teacher receiving an SGO rating that leads to an overall rating of “ineffective” or “partially effective” to review his/her overall evaluation.

Frankly, this agreement could have been worked out long ago at the DoE level – without the need for legislative intervention – given the litany of testimony from NJEA and its members over the past year. Be that as it may, the changes outlined above are most appropriately made through DoE regulation, not legislation.

Accordingly, NJEA believes this agreement is the best possible outcome, which should lead to common sense, research-based recommendations from the Study Commission – particularly given the near-certainty of a gubernatorial veto of S-2154.

Nonetheless, there is ample reason to believe that the Legislature’s willingness to pass A-3081 and S-2154 and force a potential gubernatorial veto was a key factor leading to the agreement outlined above. So, I want to publicly thank the eight legislators whose leadership on this legislation in both branches was pivotal to the outcome. Thanks to Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester); Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson); Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex); Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex); Assemblyman Timothy Eustace (D-Bergen); Senator Theresa Ruiz (D-Essex); Senator Robert Gordon (D-Bergen); and Senator Jeff Van Drew (D-Atlantic).

In closing, this agreement is a victory for every NJEA member. You wrote letters, you testified before the BoE, you attended numerous lobby days, and did whatever was necessary to send a strong message to policymakers that the entire PARCC/Common Core/evaluation train was running off the tracks. And in the end, they heard you. So, on behalf of the entire NJEA Leadership Team, I want to thank you for your active involvement, which paved the way for this agreement. Be sure to check for regular updates and additional information and I truly wish each of you a relaxing and regenerative summer, because it’s been a challenging year to say the least.

In solidarity,



                       PUBLIC EDUCATION!

Taking Action


Published on Thursday, May 22, 2014

When Gov. Christie announced his illegal plan to slash pension funding, the unions representing public employees vowed to sue to protect our members’ rights. Together, we are moving forward to file that suit quickly.

But you can do even more.  Under the law governing pension payments, the pension plans themselves have the right to sue if the state fails to make its full, required contribution. We are urging pension plan members to demand that the board of their fund sue on their behalf as well.

Please take a few minutes to send a letter to your pension board.  The legal language is provided for you.  You simply provide the requested information.  We will print and submit your letter to the secretary of your pension fund.

Choose your fund to submit your letter today!




Sponsored by U.N.I.T.E.

9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Click on the links below to view the flyer in English and Spanish:




Click the link below to watch the video.



Charles Swindoll

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company… a church… a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.



1. Know the issues.

2. Learn how people and organizations work.

3. Accept differences in ways that will allow you to overcome stereotypes and deal realistically with others.

4. Speak with respect; avoid words and behaviors that might offend or put down others.

5. Learn from each other.

6. Pay attention to others by giving them recognition.

7. Create agreements that work.

Current Updates

Congratulations to our Teachers of The Year :
Keri Lippman                        Lakewood Early Childhood Center
Cecelia Ding                         Clifton Avenue Grade School
Alyson Szczygiel                    Ella G. Clarke School
Jennifer Capper-Patterson      Oak Street School
Mariana DeSilvestri                Spruce Street School
Kimberly Veltre                      Lakewood Middle School

Kevin Walters                        Lakewood High School


When the Assembly Education Committee invited NJEA President Wendell Steinhau- er to testify on the implementation of the Common Core

But if the standards are so good, why did legislators call for a hearing on the Common Core?

Steinhauer believes that two major problems are undermining confidence in the new standards and their effectiveness in the classroom: implementation and

the curriculum to meet those standards for the particular students they are teaching. Teachers also need time and professional learning opportunities to adjust their teach- ing strategies appropriately.

“It’s hard work, and it’s time consum- ing,” he said. “Without proper implementa- tion, the Common Core has no value to students. It’s a bit like buying a top-of-the- line luxury car, but not putting any gas in the tank.”

Steinhauer maintains that “the rushed, misguided implementation of the new evaluation system, and especially of the PARCC testing that too much of it is built around, is dragging Common Core down with it in the court of teacher and public opinion.”

While the Common Core demands col- laboration, “teachers are being subjected at the same time to an evaluation system that emphasizes student test scores. That means that they are held personally responsible for those students’ test scores,” he said.

“Teachers in tested subjects will be
left with no choice but to focus on test preparation, and we’ve seen the damage done by that under No Child Left Behind,” Steinhauer reminded legislators.

In order to effectively implement the Common Core, the NJEA president called for more time and an evaluation system that recognizes the kind of collaborative teaching that the standards require.

“You cannot have standards and a cur- riculum that make teaching and learning a shared responsibility succeed alongside an evaluation system that says the very opposite,” Steinhauer said.

Any hopes for a successful transition to the Common Core and a meaningful teacher evaluation system in New Jersey “must begin with the recognition that student learning is far too complex and important to be boiled down to so-called student growth percentiles based on stan- dardized tests, with the results assigned to individual teachers,” concluded Steinhauer.

You can see a video of Steinhauer’s testimony on or click on the link below to watch on youtube:

Lakewood Education Association

“United We Stand, Divided We Beg”


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