On Wednesday, December 28, 1853, three school administrators held a statewide meeting of about 50 New Jersey teachers. Their concerns included school curriculum, the need for community involvement in public schools, and improving methods of instruction. On that day, the New Jersey State Teachers’ Association was born.
Times have changed. The New Jersey State Teachers’ Association is now the New Jersey Education Association. NJEA is no longer a K-12, teachers-only organization. We recognize the importance of educational support professionals (ESP), higher education members, retired educators, and student members. Attendance at our convention has grown from 50 people to 50,000.
And while instruction has changed dramatically over the years to incorporate technology and ever-expanding curricula, our goal still remains the same as it was back in 1853. NJEA members want to provide their students with the great public schools they deserve. We want to engage our students and inspire them to achieve. We want to stay at the top of our game by learning about the latest trends and practices in classroom instruction. We want to have an opportunity to collaborate with other educators to share our successes and struggles.
The NJEA Convention is the largest educational gathering in the world. I am proud of that fact because it is a visible sign of the commitment and dedication of our members to their profession. I urge all NJEA members—teachers and ESP, retirees and students—to attend this year’s convention. We need to take a proactive approach to the many issues that we face this year, and the convention is the one place to do it.
Thank you for all you do on behalf of New Jersey’s students. You have helped build the best public schools in the nation, and I am proud to represent you.