Executive Director of NJEA Shares Excitement for the Future
Steve Adubato goes on-location to the 2017 NJEA Convention to speak with Ed Richardson, Executive Director of the New Jersey Education Association, about the importance of the convention and professional development. He also talks about the eagerness of working with the new governor and getting back to responsible funding.
"Steve Adubato, here in Atlantic City, at the Atlantic City Convention Center. This is the 2017 NJEA convention, the 164th time this has happened. We are honored to be joined once again by the Executive Director of the NJEA, Ed Richardson. Good to see you Ed. Thank you Steve. Thanks for being here. We should say we're taping this just a few days after a historic event in New Jersey. There is a new governor coming in, Phil Murphy. Thoughts about that? He was just here, and... He was just at the convention? He was at the convention. He stopped by, he delivered brief remarks to a packed audience right here on the exhibit floor, his voice is a little wavering as can be expected, but it was truly energizing. And I think our members are genuinely looking forward to working with new leadership in New Jersey. He's got some bold ideas, particularly about education. He said this morning, "Job one is that we need to fully fund our schools," which has not been done in the last eight years. He did say that? He did. And... What kind of reaction did he get? A standing ovation. Everyone spontaneously stood and applauded that, because our members understand that for the last eight years, our schools have been desperately underfunded. And yet, through their perseverance, our schools are still top performing in this nation. And so that's just, you know, it's a testament to the work of our members all over the state. Politics is something that the NJEA is involved in in many ways. The number one thing is to be advocates for teachers for educators, but you pick your spots. When you make a decision with the Senate President which we talked about last year? Right. Right? To get involved in that campaign. Explain to folks the rationale. Well first of all it's not my decision, or even... The organization? Right, we have elected leaders who come together in a screening process, and then an even larger body, 125 members, who vote on those decisions, and over the course of his time in the Senate, there have been times when we have endorsed Senator Sweeney, times when we have not and... but there have been major decisions that have taken place directly affecting our members, directly affecting their work with students, directly affecting their pocketbooks, and time and time again, they've been disappointed by many of those decisions, and so not an easy thing obviously to you know, to go into a campaign where we've endorsed the opponent of the Senate President. But that decision was made and we..."