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NJEA Cancels Atlantic City Convention

After Sandy batters Atlantic City, the state teachers' union cancels its annual gathering there.

New Jersey’s teachers won’t gather in Atlantic City for their annual convention for the first time in 158 years. 

The damage and ongoing problems left behind by monster storm Sandy forced the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) to cancel its Nov. 8-9 conference at the shore town.

NJEA said its convention is the largest gathering of its kind worldwide, and the sheer size helped make the final decision to cancel.

“The NJEA Convention is a massive event, involving tens of thousands of people,” NJEA President Barbara Keshishian said. “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.”

NJEA’s convention is not only an annual event for teachers, but a two-day break from school for millions of New Jersey students. Sandy shut down the state’s schools for two days this week, and many other districts had to stay closed for longer because of damage to schools and power outages.

Keshishian vowed that NJEA would return next year to Atlantic City, whose famed boardwalk took a pounding, along with massive flooding and power outages. Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City.

In the meantime, Keshishian said NJEA is exploring ways for its members, leaders and staff to contribute to and assist in the city’s cleanup and recovery.

NJEA wants “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,” Keshishian said. “People in Atlantic City are hurting, and we genuinely want to help them in whatever ways we can.”

mike November 01, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Wishing all those affected by this storm the best.
mike November 01, 2012 at 07:19 PM
I am a teacher. I work hard. You try spending 7 hours a day with children. Most of you "parents" do not spend more than 4 hours with your kids, and complain about them. I enjoy my job, work hard, and work after hours (grading, planning, etc.) I was a former private sector employee and most of YOU did not care about teachers until you started losing your jobs...I remember the private sector...2 hour lunches, cigarette breaks, web surfing when your boss is not around. You think teaching is easy?? Go get certified and try it. Fact, 3/5 new teachers quit in the first three years. WHY? Because it is not easy. And the kids today are a lot different then we were...they have little or no respect for their elders (wonder where they get that from??)
Subhana November 01, 2012 at 07:46 PM
You are so right on Pieter--my family lost their home in Toms River--I would appreciate the compassion at this time--not a lot of bashing and complaining. How bout going to one of the shelters--they need volunteers. I live in NH and hope to get down there soon to help out. For my family's sake, please help
suz November 01, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Mike, you sound like one of the teachers I would be proud to have in our school system. You know that all are not like you, however. Yes, parents are to blame for a lot of our "entitled" children. Keep up the good work.
debra simon November 01, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Lets not bash teachers lets face it many of you would not be where you are today without your educations. We need to stay positive at this time in our area. Hooray for wall bd of Ed and the police department for using busses to block intersections without traffic lights.
mckay21 November 01, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Mike way to explain your point with with the simple truths that most tend to ignore. Teaching is a trade, a craft that many could never plain and simply hack, pushing paper ok, developing young minds nah.....Some like to pick on teachers, bully-esk, seems to be pretty popular these days....
Ira L. Marks November 01, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Bottom line is that only having 180 days teaching each year is a joke. Then add in all half days worked (teacher conferences, bad weather, etc.) that count as full days in the 180 day total and the kids are getting shortchanged. This is why we have an education system that is mediocre at best. Countries that take education seriously will send their students to school for many more days than is required in the US. As a result, we are falling way behind these countries and will be losing even more good jobs in the future to them. Like it or not, cheaper and better skilled workers in other countries are taking our good paying US jobs now and this will not change until we have a major change in education-both quantity of time in the classroom and quality time.
kim g November 01, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Not bashing but why not have this during the summer months.. or during holiday break( keeping that PC) or maybe even during spring break?? What are the teacher going to do now if they have no springbreak off?? ( I bet a week of subs will be teaching the kids) really NO reason at all to have the kids off in NOV to make it more easier for teachers//
Mike November 01, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Airfare to Cancun is cheaper.
Mike November 01, 2012 at 09:41 PM
"It's about the children" isn't that the quote?
teacher November 01, 2012 at 10:44 PM
I am a teacher in Union County and my district will have school next Thursday and Friday, if we have power. Normalcy would be great right now but will not be possible without power. I am more than happy to work next week. I spend a lot of time planning, grading and working with my special education students, who by the way are having great successes so I must be doing something right! Not sure why Ira L Marks is posting here! I didn't realize this was about our awful education system!
Cindy November 02, 2012 at 12:31 AM
I live in keyport and our school is being used as a shelter for displaced senior citizens. The town next to us was completely devastated, Union Beach, and they don't have their own high school so they come to our district. They have lost lives and homes. They need time. Some districts may be prepared but many are not. It is the first time in over 150 years it has been canceled . That is evidence for how powerful this storm was
Ira L. Marks November 02, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Dear "teacher" I suggest you re-read my comments and determine if the main focus of what I am saying has to do with our awful education system. Here's a hint. It has to do with the fact that the kids are not receiving enough education. If you think 180 days teaching per year is enough, I guess we just disagree.
7 out November 02, 2012 at 02:02 AM
I would work a longer year, but not at the same salary.
Technokat November 02, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Plenty of people attend this convention. These are not paid days off, so you should be thanking the members of your local NJEA education staff that do go since they aren't being paid to obtain the professional development that is available there and from which the districts and the students do benefit.
Technokat November 02, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Our education isn't "mediocre at best." I'm so TIRED of that myth being perpetuated like it's gospel. NJ schools are tops in the country, and if you look at the international NAEP scores per grade level, the U.S. is actually scoring higher than it did decades ago. If you allow for poverty, the U.S. has actually one of top systems in the world. Other nations simply do not count their poor, disabled and at-risk population. More students are graduating from high school than ever before. Children have far more knowledge and requirements to succeed in school now than ever before. Have you seen the Kindergarten curriculum content standards? Guaranteed you never had to do algebra or read on the same level as our New Jersey Kindergarteners when you were that age. You were too busy playing. You have been fed skewed statistics and you are believing them.
Technokat November 02, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Actually, it makes it easier for Atlantic City. They want the business in the off-season.
M November 02, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Without power, the traffic signals do not work. So it is not safe for the school buses to transport students to school . Also I hear 6 out of 8 township schools are still without power. The safety of our children should be our one and only concern at this point.
Technokat November 02, 2012 at 02:26 AM
A longer school year is a nice idea, but parents would never go for it, and municipalities would never be able to pay or it. Personally, I would like to see school go to July and start mid-August with a month of winter holiday like they do in Europe. This would give families a chance to go somewhere warm to rejuvenate young minds. Research shows that people are more productive thinkers with adequate downtime. Weather-wise, it could make for less dangerous conditions depending on which month it is. No children should be transported to school in extreme cold, ice, or snow.
M November 02, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Mike sounds to me that you are a great teacher. Thank You
teacher November 02, 2012 at 02:46 AM
I guess it was the "mediocre at best" and "quality time" that read wrong?
A Polymath November 02, 2012 at 04:30 AM
Brick Schools are closed until Nov 12. Check Comcast channel 20 (BTV). Some schools are being used for shelters for displaced residents. Lots of kids and their families were living in low lying areas where there homes are GONE. I have not heard any damage reports for school buildings, but I doubt they all survived unscathed. This is a time for mutual help and cooperation, not a suitable occasion or the proper forum for teacher bashing. I am sure some of our teachers suffered tremendous losses, just like a lot of other folks.
Technokat November 02, 2012 at 05:43 AM
There is never a "suitable occasion or proper forum for teacher bashing." You make a very good point that teachers are actual human beings who experience the same losses as their neighbors. I'm beyond tired of the teacher and public schools bashing. The act has become sport among the ignorant.
BN November 02, 2012 at 05:47 AM
I love teachers. It's their union I hate. "Eschew obfuscation"
Curious Citizen November 02, 2012 at 01:20 PM
For those of you who posted that "mike" is an excellent teacher and one that you want educating your kids - you are so off-base! He said, and I quote, "Most of you "parents" do not spend more than 4 hours with your kids, and complain about them." To say this at all is disgusting, to say "most" is atrocious! Hey, maybe in Mike's district this is true, but not for me, not for ANY of my friends and probably not for the demographic of those who read and contribute to Patch. You're a horrible educator Mike and having that attitude about your students parents is what makes you that. I love my kids teachers, I have no respect for anyone in any profession who has the union protections that teachers enjoy. If I or those who work for me or those I work under had them, I can not imagine the work-product we would be creating.
Technokat November 02, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Curious Citizen, neither you nor I nor anyone can know the quality of a teacher by his comments on an Internet rag. We would have to observe this person in action over time to make any such judgements, but more than that, we'd have to have the knowledge, skill, and experience as educators to know what to look for. No one posting here has such a luxury unless they can say they've observed Mike as a certified and experienced education professional. As for those "nasty" protections you abhor, here's a little education for you. Unions ARE their membership by the very nature of the definition. Your lack if respect for what unions accomplish is indicative of your ignorance on the topic. Tenure is a protection of academic freedom and due process--both of these you want for those educating your child. Without them, the teaching staff in our schools would be just as dedicated as the cashiers at Wal-mart. (lesson con't...)
Technokat November 02, 2012 at 01:56 PM
(con't) Academic freedom allows teachers to be involved in the dialogue about what's best for their students without fear of repercussions for critical thinking. You never want to squelch critical thinking in the schools. It may work for the private sector when the boss wants to control every aspect if business, but educating minds is not about control--it is about creating divergent thinkers who can solve problems thus improving their contributions to the evolution of humanity. Teachers are certified which means they are educated professionals who should never be hired and fired on the whims of a superintendent (or school board member) who just happens to have a nephew needing a job. Teachers should never be let go because they are strict in student expectations or because of their sexual orientation. Teachers should never be harassed because of personality conflicts with administrators who have God-complexes. This is not to say that there are not great admins, superintendents or school board members, and certainly this is not to say that there are not sub-par teachers in the profession. Tenure is NOT a "job for life" as certain ignorant loud-mouths have purported for decades. It simply is not true. School districts have EVERY RIGHT to bring a teacher up on tenure charges, and should be successful in dismissing said teacher IF the charges are sound. If sub-par staff are still within the confines of the schools, that is the fault if the district, not the union. (con't)
Technokat November 02, 2012 at 01:56 PM
(con't) Finally, every teacher pays for benefits and pension with the money he or she has earned. Take-home pay is abysmally low due to all the contributions. Since salaries for professionals with comparable credentials (and in some cases, less credentials) are much higher than that of teachers, help with a group benefits package is an incentive to attract and retain quality people in these jobs, New Jersey schools are among the finest in the country, and you can thank the dedicated teaching staff and administrations who uphold such high standards of excellence for the students. If you have issues with Camden, Asbury Park, Newark, and the like, please examine the quality of life of those children before you bash their teachers.
Technokat November 02, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Are you the same"BN" that spews hateful anti-union rhetoric on the nj.com site as well?
7 out November 03, 2012 at 02:02 AM
If you are so unhappy with the quality of teachers in NJ, try moving to Mississippi and see what you get. Better yet, home school your kids


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