NJEA President on Testing and Social Justice in Education
Steve Adubato goes on-location to the 2019 NJEA Convention in Atlantic City to sit down with Marie Blistan, President, New Jersey Education Association, to discuss state testing, the challenges educators are facing in the state and the theme of social justice at the convention.
"Hi, Steve Adubato, here in Atlantic City, at the 166th New Jersey Education Association Convention. We are talking to educators, leaders of the NJEA, all sorts of national folks who talk about education as well. Once again, we're joined by Marie Blistan, President of the New Jersey Education Association. Good to see you. Good. Thank you Steve. Did you wear blue because you heard I was wearing this tie? I think I did. I think I had a little telepathy with you. By the way, your vice president's wearing blue as well! [laughter] I saw that. [laughter] Yes. We're all on the same page. I love it. Good to know. By the way, you can tell that we're live here in Atlantic City, because you see the activity going on, and the convention is just kicking off early in the morning. Marie, first of all, tell... put this in context for folks, because for those of us who have... we have a fourth grader who's like, "Dad, I have two days off." Oh. Yeah. Well those two days off... tell folks what goes on here. Well they're not two days off for our educators in this state. That's for sure. We have 229 different workshops for our educators. We have 200,000 members, Steve, as you know, in our great public schools. And they have the availability to come here, participate in those workshops in areas of their expertise, to grow their own professional learning, and again, to make content specific and important and relevant for our students in their lives. You know what's interesting? As you're listening to Marie, we're gonna be interviewing one of the main speakers here, Doctor Cornel West, internationally recognized, talks about race, social justice, and its connection to education. Your view of this. Why is social justice a big theme at this convention? Well it's a platform that my two colleagues, Sean Spiller and Steve Beatty and I, ran on in this great state. Your President and your Secretary-Treasurer? Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer. Your Vice President. Right. Yeah, absolutely. And you'll see that the theme here says that for student success, we need education justice, we need social justice, and we need to do it by standing together. And that is the theme that we've had the past two years. We're going to continue it this year. And definitely next year, and into the future. So to have Doctor Cornel West here... That's a big deal? Oh, it's a huge deal. Our two speakers yesterday, by the way, were two students in college, Priya and Winona, who started in high school, from Princeton High School. And they wrote a wonderful book... we have the book over there. Tell Me Who..."