NJEA President on Governor Murphy's Impact on Education
Steve Adubato goes on-location to the 2018 NJEA Convention to sit down with Marie Blistan, President, New Jersey Education Association, to describe the impact of Governor Murphy's administration on education in the state, as well as safety in classrooms.
"It is my honor, my pleasure, to introduce the President of the NJEA, Marie Blistan. Good to see you Marie. Thank you Steve. I just finished an interview here with the Commissioner of Education in the state of New Jersey, Doctor Repollet. You told me this is the first Education Commissioner to do what? In the history of this organization, to be here the Wednesday night before the convention, to meet with all of our members and the people who put this convention together. We have two... three different committees that do that. Right. And the first Commissioner in the history of this organization who was here for the ribbon-cutting when we opened up this morning. That matters. Why? It matters because it tells us where his priorities are. They truly are with public education, with our students, and with the members who provide those services. You came to these conventions well before you were the president? I sure did. My... Talk about your background as a teacher. My very first year teaching, I started coming here. First year? I did actually. A couple years ago? A couple of years ago. Yeah a couple couple couple years ago. Yeah. Yeah. But the convention has evolved dramatically? Yes. What's it like today? Well it's evolved. I mean even many years ago, we didn't have as many of the workshop offerings as we have. We didn't represent that many members. Today, I'm very happy to tell you that we represent members from pre-service, those students who are in college who want to become teachers. Right. Through K through 12 through college and through... our members who are retired. There's something here for… literally for everyone. But there's a common thread. And the common thread still is students, children, and what we need to do in this country to move our country forward through public education. School violence? Guns in the hands of teachers who are trained to use those guns? You're shaking your head before I even finish the question! Yeah. It's totally... Because? Yeah. It's totally ridiculous. What we should be doing is putting our efforts and our time and money into resources for our public schools so that we can in fact provide the necessary resources and supports that our students, our children and their families need. And for those who are watching saying, "Yeah, but if God forbid something happens and a teacher is armed, he or she is in a better position to protect his or her students," you say? That's also ridiculous. We are not trained to be police officers. We are trained to be teachers, nurturers, and facilitators. And we're very good at doing that job. PARCC tests? Standardized testing? Yes. Where are we today..."