I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Thursday, November 1, 2012

UPDATE: NJEA Cancels Convention


This really is unprecedented:

For the first time in its 158-year history, the NJEA Convention has been cancelled.
NJEA President Barbara Keshishian announced the decision today, “in light of the natural disaster that has struck New Jersey and Atlantic City in particular. It was a difficult decision, but we believe it was the correct one, considering the statewide impact of this unprecedented storm.”
Keshishian also announced that the leadership of NJEA is exploring ways for NJEA members, leaders, and staff to contribute to and assist in the city’s cleanup and recovery.
The two-day event, the largest educational gathering of its kind in the world, was scheduled for Nov. 8-9 in Atlantic City.
 “Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of everyone in Atlantic City, and everyone planning to attend our convention this year,” Keshishian said.  “Because we are a statewide organization, and public schools across the state have been grappling with the impact of Sandy all week long, we have to consider the feasibility of holding this event in a broader context.  Like Atlantic City, New Jersey’s school districts need time to recover and regroup from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy,” Keshishian said.
“The NJEA Convention is a massive event, involving tens of thousands of people.  We concluded it was simply not advisable to try to have that many people on the roads and using public transportation while so many communities are struggling to restore power and basic services to their residents – including NJEA members,” she said.
Citing NJEA’s long history of holding the Convention in Atlantic City, Keshishian said NJEA leaders, staff, and members “want to assist in helping this historic city rebuild and recover.  Accordingly, we have reached out to area officials to ascertain how we may be of the greatest assistance.  People in Atlantic City are hurting, and we genuinely want to help them in whatever ways we can.”
Keshishian said the NJEA Convention would be back next year, “bigger and stronger than ever, and we look forward to a long and productive relationship with the great people of Atlantic City.”

It's a shame, but there really is no other choice.

Here's an interesting question: now that the convention is cancelled, will school districts try to have school on November 8 and 9? I don't even know if it's possible, but I'll bet many teachers and parents would rather have the kids in school those days than add more days to the school calendar at the end of the year.

I'll look into this some more...

UPDATE: Here's the law about the convention:
18A:31-2. Attendance at conventions of New Jersey Education Association
Whenever any full-time teaching staff member of any board of education of any local school district or regional school district or of a county vocational school or any secretary, or office clerk applies to the board of education by which he is employed for permission to attend the annual convention of the New Jersey Education Association, such permission shall be granted for a period of not more than two days in any one year and he shall receive his whole salary for the days of actual attendance upon the sessions of such convention upon filing with the secretary of the board a certificate of such attendance signed by the executive secretary of the association.
That's fine... but what if there isn't a convention? If it's canceled, can a district open up on the days it was supposed to occur?

I have no doubt some districts are going to ask to open on these days. Let's see what happens. Watch for whether Christie decides to make this a state-wide proclamation or not.


Abel Adams said...

It's not up to the teachers whether or not students attend school on Nov. 8 and 9. The school calendar is approved by the local board of education. A school board would have to call an emergency meeting, within the confines of the sunshine law, and vote to amend the calendar. I'm not so sure the governor has the constitutional authority to force a school district to change its calendar. I guess moving Halloween has gone to his head. Christie should let individual communities decide for themselves how they will handle this. He's handled this whole crisis very well, he shouldn't now get carried away and create a conflict where one need not exist.

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