Jersey City Education Association Since 1878
United through the years
On November 26, 1877 a small group of Jersey City teachers came together and formed an organization for their mutual improvement. The first major activity of the group was the inauguration of a course in elocution to which outsiders were welcome.
The group met again on February 5, 1878, formulated a Constitution, and the organization presently known as the Jersey City Education Association was born.
Soon after its inception the Teachers’ Association of Jersey City became interested in providing benefits for its members. On December 1, 1879 the Life Assurance Department was organized. For each member the yearly fee was one dollar and there was a one-dollar assessment upon the death of a member. The Assurance Department also provided a Benefit Fund to render temporary financial assistance to members.
In the late 1800’s the salaries of teachers varied. Salaries for men and women differed. High school and elementary school teachers were paid on different guides. Married women were ineligible for teaching positions.
During the depression years of the 1930’s teachers waived their increments. It was many years before they were restored. It was many more years before teachers were put on their right step of the salary guide. On paper the guide was good but it was years before adjustments were made and the teachers received a salary in accordance with their years of experience.
The 1950’s were busy times for our Association members. Our accomplishments were many. A single salary schedule based on professional preparation was put into effect. It was commensurate with prevailing schedules in comparable school districts and also considered the rise in the cost of living within this post World War II period.
Equivalency credit for military service and for in-service courses was recognized for advanced degrees.
Our Constitution and By-Laws have been revised many times during these hundred and forty plus years. One of the big changes in the 1960’s admitted as members attendance officers and school nurses.
With the growth of the Association necessitating frequent meetings, the need for a headquarters was recognized. This became a reality in May, 1957. Suite One at the Fairmont Hotel and later a larger suite became our home for many years. We moved from there to an office on Newark Avenue and then to Bergen Avenue near Montgomery Street. In the 1960’s we moved to our own building at 2300 Kennedy Boulevard, a dream come true for our members. Our latest move was to our present home at 1600 Kennedy Boulevard.
The 1960’s saw a great awakening among teachers. We were professional people and wished to be recognized as such. We were no longer willing to sit back. We hired our first lawyer to represent us in dealings with the Board of Education. NJEA sent staff representation to assist us. Contracts between teachers and the Board of Education were agreed to.
In the early 1900’s the title of the organization was changed to the Jersey City Education Association. We became part of the United Teaching Profession in 1971 and thus became affiliated with the National Education Association, the New Jersey Education Association and the Hudson County Education Association.
Through our Association, we receive many benefits. Included in these are health and dental plans, longevity payments, buying services, and services for school related problems.
Our organization has been fortunate to have many people who displayed outstanding qualities of leadership. We recognized this and so did our State and National Associations. NJEA Presidents from Jersey City included George Burton (1879), William Dickinson (1881), A.B. Guilford (1889), Langdon Thomas (1901), Henry Snyder (1906), Albert Moncrief (1917), and Adele Cox (1931).
Now, in this new millennium, the Jersey City Education Association proudly accepts the challenge of upgrading the quality of education for all the youth of our city.