NJEA's Focuses on Ensuring Safety for NJ's Children
Steve Adubato goes on-location to the 2018 NJEA Convention to speak with Ed Richardson, Executive Director of the New Jersey Education Association, about the ways he believes education has positively improved in the last year under the Governor Murphy administration; the political discourse in our nation and its effect on schools; and the NJEA’s priority to ensure safety for children and staff members.
"This is Steve Adubato. We are in Atlantic City. This is the 165th New Jersey Education Association Convention. We are once again talking to the Executive Director of the NJEA, Ed Richardson. Good to see you Ed. Good to see you too. Thanks for being here Steve. Every year we've come here, there's energy, there's excitement, what makes this year particularly special? I think just the fact that our educators feel a new mood in the state, really from the top. From the leadership of Governor Murphy, our Education Commissioner, Lamont Repollet, is here. We just talked to him. That's a big deal to have the Education Commissioner here? It is. The Commissioner has always come and done a session, and Dr. Repollet will be doing that. But the Commissioner came here last night, had dinner with us, spoke to our staff and our leaders, will be doing that session. But he's here all morning, walking around, talking with you, talking with educators, and that's what he wants to do. And that's a really important signal, I think, to send to our members. That the Commissioner of Education, someone who came up through the ranks as a practitioner, as a teacher, a principal, a superintendent, wants to be here among them, and hear from them. The other thing that is... I don't know if it's different Ed, but the conversation that's so critical, you and I talk a lot about the state of, quote-unquote, "political discourse" in our state, in our nation. Your organization put out a very public statement about the tone of public discourse, it's connection to violence, and the role of educators in that regard. How important is improving, and making more civil, if you will, our political discourse? It's so vitally important. From a policy standpoint, we have challenges that we face in New Jersey, across the nation. We will never be able to address those challenges unless we learn how to talk to each other in a cooperative and respectful way. There will always be issues of disagreement, whether it's across party lines... Are we enemies when we disagree? Hmm? Are we enemies? No, we don't have to be. But what's the role of education and educators in all this? That's the really difficult thing. Our members are out there teaching our students about how to have respectful discourse, about how to discuss ideas and debate them even when we disagree, and still be able to, you know, come out as friends, and at least as peers. Respecting each..."