The Impact of the Political Discourse on NJ Education

Steve Adubato goes on-location to the 2018 NJEA Convention to sit down with Ed Richardson, Executive Director, New Jersey Education Association, to discuss political discourse and it’s impact on the education system, as well as the progress made on school bus safety in New Jersey.

3/16/19 #3204






"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. Governor Murphy. Our Education Commissioner, Lamont Repollet is here. 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 in 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? Hmm? When we disagree, are we enemies? No, we don't have to be. Why are we so often? Why do some believe you are my enemy if we disagree politically? I think some of it is driven by the tenor of elections and you know, how we just saw... By the way, we just finished the midterm elections. We're taping right after that. Talk about... contentious? Very contentious. And the nature of the... of all the advertising and so forth and... okay, that's part of the campaign, but we have to learn how to move on from that and work with whoever is elected and not be working just to plan for the next election, which unfortunately, I think, is happening in a lot of the policy debates. It's, you know, what can we do to make sure that we have a sound bite for that next ad in two or six years? 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..."