Mark Weber, Educator and Blogger

As part of our Teacher Appreciation Week series, Steve Adubato goes on-location to the 2016 NJEA convention to speak with educator and blogger, Mark Weber, his blog the Jersey Jazzman and why he does not shy away from talking about education issues and why he believes teach in its self is a political act. 5/4/17 #2033






"Steve Adubato here at the 163rd New Jersey Education Association Convention in beautiful Atlantic City at Convention Hall. It is my honor and pleasure to introduce Mr. Mark Weber, music educator in Warren Township. And he's a blogger known as The Jersey Jazzman. How you doing? I'm doing great. Thank you. Where did you get that moniker? I'm a jazz musician. I... that's my training. I played for years and then started taking on students and decided I love teaching kids. And I've got the best job in the world. I teach something I love, and I teach the kids. It's the perfect job. So here's the thing... and by the way, people can check out your website, we'll put it up there, because you talk about a lot of interesting issues. You believe that educators need to be more engaged in conversation, in public conversation about important issues like charter schools, school funding, pensions, teacher evaluations, because? Because we're the experts. I mean, who else should be leading this conversation except us? You wouldn't set medical policy without talking to doctors, you wouldn't set legal policy without talking to lawyers, you wouldn't set standards for building bridges without talking to engineers and architects. But over and over again, Steve, we've been left out of the conversation. When Governor Christie put together his Educator Effectiveness Task Force, there wasn't one NJEA member on that task force. There was only one working teacher who was on that task force. That makes no sense to me. How could we possibly come up with good education policy unless we teachers are involved? So let me as you... devil's advocate, do you mean teachers getting political, if you will, in the classroom? Or just public forums? Well, some people would say that teaching is, in and of itself, a political act. I work very hard, and I think the vast majority of my colleagues work very hard to make students feel like all points of view... Right. ...are acceptable, although it's our primary job to teach critical thinking. So I... Define that for people. Critical thinking. Critical thinking is being able to look at the issues, being able to look at the facts, to be able to determine what is it a fact and what is an opinion. I think that's a core skill that we teach all kids. And I certainly try to do that in my classroom. And it's important that they do this in order that... for them to become citizens, in order for them to really engage in democracy. Democracy doesn't work unless you have an..."