Tag Archives: education

Education: Accountability in a New Landscape

Join the League of Women Voters of New Jersey for a lively panel discussion examining accountability in traditional public schools and charter schools. New Jersey education experts will discuss, debate, and offer insight into current education policy trends. Panelists are sure to touch on many current education topics including tenure and teacher evaluation, charter school authorization, and others as they discuss their ideas for education reform.

When: Saturday, September 24, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm

Where: PSEG Training Center, 234 Pierson Ave, Edison, NJ

Register: The registration deadline is this Friday, September 16th! Learn more about the event and register online!

This panel discussion will be moderated by John Mooney, education reporter and founding editor of NJSpotlight.com. There will be plenty of time for questions!

Panelists include:

Dr. Rosemary Knab, Associate Director, NJEA Research and Economic Services

Dr. Brian Osborne, Superientendent of Schools, South Orange & Maplewood

Dr. Julia Sass Rubin, Association Professor at Edward J. Bloustein School and one of the founding members of Save our Schools NJ

Dr. Alan R. Sadovnik, Professor of Education, Sociology, and Public Affairs and co-director of the Institute on Education Law and Policy and Newark Schools Research Collaborative, Rutgers University-Newark.

Workshops

In the afternoon, we will hold skill-building workshops. This year you have the opportunity to attend either

Moderator Training

An experienced trainer and moderator will teach you your responsibilities, including our updated procedures, using a manual and role-playing. This workshop is a double session precluding attendence at any other.

or two of the following workshops:

Effective Lobbying

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey is strengthening our Lobby Corps!    Are you interested in learning how you can be a part of our advocacy efforts, take on a leadership role in the League, and make a positive difference? Join longtime League lobbyist Sandy Matsen to learn effective lobbying techniques.

Membership and Leadership Development

This year, the League of Women Voters of New Jersey is participating in a national initiative aimed at increasing membership! Come learn how your local League can benefit from the best practices our state membership coaches have learned from LWVUS.

Starting a “Running & Winning” Workshop

Come learn how you can start this popular program that introduces high school girls in your community to public service. This is a wonderful way to engage your members and gain new members. The League of Women Voters of New Jersey even has resources and money to help your local League kick off this program!

BrandRaising: Marketing the League

For-profit companies invest significantly in marketing and communications in order to build their customer base and raise awareness. Traditionally, nonprofits have not used marketing strategies and tools in the same way…but should! Come learn how the League can use these proven techniques and tools (like social media) to raise funds, improve outreach, and increase visibility!

Register by Friday, September 16th to avoid the late fee!

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Highlights of Our 59th Biennial Convention

The following entry is written by Toni Zimmer, LWVNJ President

I just finished participating as board member and incoming President at the League of Women Voters of New Jersey state Convention for 2011. Knowing I was about to take over the reins of this wonderful organization made the convention especially exciting for me. I watched outgoing President Anne Maiese very carefully as she led us through the event, knowing that at the next convention that would be my role!

A Green Event

This year, we had the privilege of utilizing the conference facility at the Verizon Operations Center in Basking Ridge (a few miles south of Morristown) for our event. The facility has earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED  Silver certification for its environmentally friendly design and energy efficiency. To make the 1.4 million-square-foot facility more energy efficient, Verizon uses temperature sensors and energy-management systems to monitor heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.  Bravo, Verizon!

Step Right Up

Local League delegates line up for the "Roll Call"

As described in this issue’s “From the President” column, for the first time, the LWVNJ conducted a Roll Call of Local Leagues which gave each representative a chance to summarize their group’s 2-year accomplishments and activities.  It was impressive to hear so many fine achievements. Congratulations to all!

Guest Speakers

When it came to guest speakers, we were definitely not disappointed.  First, it was a wonderful privilege to have our LWVUS liaison, Marcia Merrins, speak to us on the important aspects of non-partisanship and elections in a new era. She was eloquent, direct, and had a sense of humor that kept a smile on our faces as we absorbed such serious information. We are very fortunate to have Ms. Merrins as our liaison and mentor.

John Mooney

Our other esteemed guest speaker was John Mooney, founding editor and education writer of NJSpotlight, an online news service providing insight and information on issues critical to New Jersey.  Mr. Mooney shared his views and expertise on various school issues facing New Jersey and the important role of education journalism.

Moderator Workshop / Caucuses

Marcia Merrins

Marcia Merrins conducted a comprehensive moderating workshop that covered everything from how to choose a debate format to maintaining correct protocol during the event.

Caucuses are informational sessions, often with elements of planning and strategizing. For example, members might hold a caucus to promote an action they intended later to introduce at convention. At this convention,  some caucuses included these topics:

Immigration: Deborah MacMillan led this caucus which attracted more than a dozen core immigration group members and newcomers.  The annual report was reviewed and the group discussed a summary of the immigration survey. Current and future conditions were discussed,  including (1) the latest immigration climate in Hightstown and (2) the Morris County Freeholder board’s objection to granting in-county tuition for illegal immigrant students. The Freeholders state that money should only be used to subsidize tuition rates for students born in the United States or living in the U.S. legally.

Education Caucus

Education:  Led by Pat Libutti, the caucus explored a strategy for the progressive emergence of education study materials, i.e. PowerPoint presentations, short and/or comprehensive papers and the  possibility of speaking with other Leagues to combine information meetings.  Of paramount importance to the group was the impending new budget which is slated to cut a total of 20 vital education programs, including:  The Jacob Javits Act program for education of the gifted;  Even Start – a head start program for migrant workers; and a total of five critical literacy programs.  For more information, visit: http://www.edweek.org/media/program_elimination_051211.pdf

Human Trafficking: This well-attended caucus was successfully led by Doris Schapira. Doris is currently abroad and unable to provide a summary of caucus events for this publication. However, the caucus yielded important and timely information we believe needs to be shared with members across the state, so pertinent information regarding the blight of Human Trafficking will be published in our next Voter. Thanks to all who participated in this caucus.

Awards and Accolades

Awards Ceremony

Several well-deserved awards were presented to League members for outstanding service, membership longevity, and generous financial support. At the risk of inadvertently omitting a name of any of the recognized recipients, I won’t list them here. Their exceptional contributions to the League are deeply appreciated.

Approved Study Programs and Board Actions

Study:  The delegates voted by voice majority to approve a study on electronic voting devices. For a number of years it has been a concern of the national League that electronic voting devices are not secure unless fully backed up by paper ballots that can be used to verify that the machines worked correctly. New Jersey currently has very few machines with paper trails, and we are thus dangerously dependent on the adequacy of the electronic devices and software. This study will investigate the situation in New Jersey, determine what plans are afoot to solve the problem, and make recommendations on what the League should support or oppose.  One of the great things about this organization is that we always carefully study issues and come to member consensus before taking a position.

Board Action:  A number of delegates came together to urge action against human trafficking, which they said was disturbingly common in our state. They proposed, and the  delegates agreed, that the board should write to the Attorney General to urge him to use the utmost effort to train law enforcement to recognize and to rescue and assist victims and to prosecute the perpetrators of human trafficking.

As usual, this League convention was engaging and fast paced.  Our one-day format made it even more so than when we had one and a half day conventions. I learned a lot, enjoyed the give and take of discussion and issues, and I’m looking forward to leading the organization for the next two years. If you are not already a member, I hope you will join us as we move forward with our important work.

Win a Free Trip!

Support the League of Women Voters of New Jersey Education Fund and get a chance to win a dream vacation!

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey Education Fund is raffling off a vacation package of your choosing valued up to $3,000. Proceeds benefit LWVNJEF’s efforts to educate the public and promote civic education.

Here’s your chance to win a fabulous vacation and support the League at the same time. The trip may include a stay at an all-inclusive Caribbean or Mexican resort, a fabulous cruise, a romantic European getaway, or a fun-filled vacation at Disney World for a family of four – you may design your own dream vacation package!

Tickets are just $10 each and we are only selling 2,000 tickets.

Tickets will sell fast so get yours today!

To purchase your tickets please make check payable to LWVNJ-EF
and mail to:
LWVNJ-EF Raffle

204 West State Street
Trenton, NJ  08608

Please specify the number of raffle tickets you are purchasing ($10 per ticket), your name, address, phone number, a nd email address so that we may contact you if you win the drawing. Raffle tickets will be sent through the mail after we receive your check.

Purchasing a raffle ticket helps make it possible for the League of Women Voters of New Jersey Education Fund to:
  • Increase the visibility of the League and maintain a strong media presence to educate the public on election issues, through numerous op-eds and letters-to-the-editor, press and radio interviews, our web site, blogs, a Facebook page, and emails.
  • Staff a toll-free voter assistance hotline, 1-800-792-VOTE, to answer any and all voting questions from the public.
  • Hold educational forums on important and timely policy topics such as alternative energy and health care.
  • Coordinate debates across the state on all levels of government by providing moderators and sponsorship.
  • Provide information about candidates and publish non-partisan and balanced ballot question analysis to help voters make informed decisions when voting.

The drawing will take place July 14, 2010, 12 noon, at 204 West State Street, Trenton, NJ. No one under the age of 18 years is permitted to participate. If gambling is a problem for you or someone in your family, Dial 1-800-GAMBLER.

Control Commission ID # 495-38535

Municipality Raffle License # 529

“Running and Winning”

The following entry is written by Jesse Burns, LWVNJ Director of Communications.

Last week I had to the opportunity to attend my first “Running and Winning” program.  It was organized and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Greater Red Bank Area. “Running and Winning” is an amazing day-long League program that encourages high school girls to consider a political career.

I found the commitment of the League members, other sponsoring organizations, volunteers, female elected officials and political operatives, and the enthusiasm of the student participants extremely inspiring and encouraging. Young women who may have never before considered a career in politics, or who may have thought that a political career was not possible, left that day excited, empowered, and confident in their ability to work on a campaign team or run for elected office.  The young women spent the day interviewing women who have political careers, researching the pros and cons of a policy issue, and working together in teams to prepare and deliver a campaign speech about that issue.

Currently four local Leagues – LWV of Cape May, LWV of Mountain Lakes, LWV of Camden County, and LWV of the Greater Red Bank Area – organize and sponsor local “Running and Winning” programs in their communities. I would like to say thank you to the many people who work so hard to provide this opportunity to high school girls in those areas. All of you are playing a huge role in shaping the future of these young women and working to decrease the gender gap in our political system. As I watched each group of students deliver their speeches I was so very proud to belong to an organization that not only encourages political participation, but also provides hands-on leadership skills to foster our future female political leaders.

Marilyn Morheuser Humanitarian Award

The following entry is written by Anne Ruach Nicolas, LWVNJ Executive Director.

Last week the League of Women Voters of New Jersey was pleased to receive the Marilyn Morheuser Humanitarian Award at an award ceremony hosted by the Education Law Center. I had the great honor of being in attendance, along with LWVNJ President, Anne Maiese, Advocate Sandy Matsen, Education and Fiscal Policy Chair Lindy Wilson, honoree Judy Cambria, and many other proud League supporters and staff. The award applauded the League’s work to assure that New Jersey school children are educated in physical facilities that are safe, healthy, and conducive to learning.

At the ceremony, Judy Cambria was honored for her central role in this effort and her insistence that children could not receive a “thorough and efficient” education in crumbling and dilapidated schools—something the courts agreed with.  As a result of the work of the League and Judy Cambria, hundreds of thousands of New Jersey’s schoolchildren are able to learn in safe and sound school facilities. Judy Cambria is a shining example of the power of an informed and active individual and epitomizes what it means to be a member of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey.

The League is grateful for this award and extremely proud of our accomplishments led by Judy Cambria and the LWVNJ Education and Fiscal Policy Committee.

Alternative Energy for New Jersey Conference

Please join us for an educational and important conference exploring alternative energy in New Jersey on Saturday, April 10. The conference will take place 9:30 am – 3:00 pm and be held at the NJ Hospital Association Center located at 760 Alexander Road in Princeton.

Over the last year, members of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey have studied five different sources of alternative energy and will be presenting their findings on solar, wind, biomass, nuclear, and geothermal. After the presentations, energy experts will be speaking about energy policy, efficiency, and the “smarter grid”.

The keynote luncheon speaker will be Governor James J. Florio who will be addressing New Jersey energy policy. Governor Florio is well known as a leader in New Jersey’s environmental protection efforts. Other speakers include Scott Minos, Senior Policy and Communications Specialist for the U.S. Department of Energy, and Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. Scott Minos will be sharing his expertise in energy efficiency and Arjun Makhijani will be covering smart grid technologies and making the grid more efficient.

Space is limited and early registration is strongly encouraged.

This conference is open to the public but registration is required by March 19. The registration fee is $30 for League members, $40 for non-members, and includes breakfast, lunch, and all conference materials.

After March 19, the late registration fee is $40 for League members and $50 for non-members.

Learn more about the conference and register today!