State news roundup for September 28, 2013


New Jersey – NJEA volunteers help homeless in Camden

NJEA staff members Verlencia Waring and Roxie Muhsin color with a youngster at the Anna Sample Complex.

Active, retired and student members of NJEA and association staff spent Sept. 18 in Camden working with homeless military veterans on GED test preparation and Adult Education tutoring programs at the Volunteers of America Delaware Valley Home for the Brave/Aletha R. Wright Center. They also conducted a Mommy & Me program, and provided homework help at the Anna Sample Complex. In addition, they helped prepare meals for residents and clients.

It was all part of NJEA Volunteer Day held to commemorate the new public-private partnership between Volunteers of America Delaware Valley and NJEA. Funding for the project was made available when staff in NJEA Communications negotiated an advertising contract with CBS EcoMedia that included an unusual perk: a portion of NJEA’s advertising contract would be put into a grant that would be awarded on NJEA’s behalf.

The grant was created by CBS EcoMedia’s “EducationAd” program. It funds educational materials to help military veterans gain their GED certificates, learn job skills and money management, and engage in life skills training. NJEA’s funding also pays for classroom supplies, linens, toiletries and cleaning supplies.

“Some folks have asked me why NJEA would get involved with homeless shelters in Camden,” said NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer. “I tell them when you help the city, you help the schools. If our students, their families, and their neighbors are in need, we all need to step up and help make the situation better.”

Get the full story at

West Virginia – Teacher pay: Many questions to be considered before educator salaries raised

Competitive Pay West VirginiaGetting a head start on the 2014 legislative session, the West Virginia Education Association Monday launched a pre-emptive push for an increase in teacher pay.

WVEA President Dale Lee told reporters, “We’re losing ground.”

Lawmakers haven’t approved a salary adjustment in three years — they received an across-the-board raise of $1,488 in 2010.

According to Lee, the state has reached a critical point in keeping young teachers in West Virginia schools.

Of 1,500 of last year’s West Virginia college graduates with education degrees, little more that 400 stayed in the state to begin their careers.

Lee says that is because the pay is so much better in other states, including the five that border West Virginia.

Find out more about the campaign and how you can get involved at

Wisconsin – WEAC part of coalition filing contempt of court motion on Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission

Wisconsin Contempt Presser
WEAC Vice President Ron Martin, right, discusses a contempt of court motion filed against WERC commissioners who refuse to stop requiring recertification elections that have been ruled unconstitutional.

WEAC, in coalition with other public employee unions, has filed a motion to hold the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission in contempt of court. The unprecedented filing comes after the WERC dug in its heels and said it would continue enforcing unconstitutional provisions of Act 10 – including annual certification elections.

The motion seeks to have Dane County Circuit Court Judge Colas find Commissioners Scott and Pasch in contempt of court.

Eau Claire teacher Ron Martin, WEAC vice president, attended an afternoon press conference Tuesday to discuss the motion. “This is an important day for the professionals who educate our state’s students every day – and for all workers. In fact, it’s an important day for all citizens. This is about their rights and fair play.”

Attorneys representing the public employee unions including WEAC explained that by refusing to stop requiring recertification elections, the commissioners are placing themselves above the law – choosing to forego the system of checks and balances that we teach our students in basic social studies. How did the WERC commissioners explain their actions?

Visit to read more about the lawsuit.

Illinois – Survey shows voters support pensions

Illinois-IEA-logo 06-30-12A survey of Illinois voters shows that, by a margin of 2-1, the people who will be casting ballots in the November 2014 election believe that teachers and college faculty should receive the pensions they were promised despite state deficits.

That’s one of the findings in a new public opinion survey conducted on behalf of the Illinois Education Association (IEA), the state’s largest union of education professionals.

Phone interviews with 600 “frequent voters” (registered voters who voted in one of the last three general elections and say they vote in at least half of elections) were conducted in mid-August by the research firm of Normington, Petts and Associates.

Respondents were asked to choose between two statements:

  • Given the state’s budget problems, we just cannot afford to pay the full pensions of teachers and college faculty.
  • Teachers and college faculty contributed to their pension from every paycheck, and should receive the pensions they were promised, despite these deficits.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of those responding to the survey agree educators should receive their pensions. More than half (52 percent) felt that way “strongly.”

Click through to visit and find our more about the ongoing campaign to protect pensions for public servants.

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