Responding to the ridicule of teachers and the teaching profession by politicians and self proclaimed "experts"!
"Where is Albert Shanker now that we need him?" - Walt Sautter

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

How About a Stayacation

Maybe our Governor should stay home and attend to business in NJ instead of traveling all over the country to campaign for Richie Rich.
He doesn't really have to travel far and wide to find victims to bully. He's already shown that he can get his jollies right here at home by going down the shore and bullying up some New Jersey citizens. (As long as the state cops are by his side to protect him).

Please read: "Throw a Few Million American Teachers on the Barbie" at
My comments on the article - 

Today’s American educators are timid and weak. They are a long cry from the days of Albert Shanker in NY.
Maybe it’s a symptom of society in general, We have tolerated over ten years of futile, bankrupting wars with almost no protest. We have tolerated years of the rich siphoning off the cream from our economy and again with meager protest.
Like my mother used to say – “If you don’t respect and stand up for yourself, no one else will” and as I like to say “The more you take, the more you’ll get!”

 and closer to home, please read the article -
"Public Schools Ramp Up Ads So Kids Will Stay" page10 - Star Ledger 8-21

Sunday, 12 August 2012

I've Got Lots of Questions??

I've got lots of questions for our editor. 

* How many principals and administrators have obtained their positions not by superior teaching abilities but instead through relatives and friends with political connections? 

** How naive can this editor be. How many people have you known who got on the "wrong side" of an administrator and then "paid the price"?

*** Since when has education become an athletic competition?

**** Compensation - yes! But also how about - low status, constant public criticism and degradation, being deluged with mandates and dictates by the DOE, being observed and critiqued by those with little or knowledge of the subject matter, seeing "pension reform" stealing their future, observing the cry of politicians to end seniority and any semblance of job security, being held responsible for a student's unwillingness to participate in the learning process, lack of meaningful discipline measures by the administration, confrontations with parents with little or no backup by administrators and last but not least, a bleak outlook for the teaching profession as whole?
I am sure that there is much more that I have failed to mention.  
Maybe you would like to fill the blanks? 

***** "a career ladder" - what does that mean and to whom will it be available?
Will it be attained primarily by those who follow the same "career path" as the administrators I mentioned in the first sentence?  

Monday, 6 August 2012

What a surprise!!

Look at the article "NJDOE Denies Their Secrets Are Secret" at:

 The first paragraph is the part I like the best.

"Last week, the Education Law Center published a series of "confidential" documents from the NJ Department of Education detailing a "turnaround" plan for schools, paid for with private monies, that would remove schools from local control, negate collective bargaining agreements, and bring in private charter school management companies."

Friday, 3 August 2012

An Interesting Article Referenced on FB

I wonder if the "assignee" will be related
to politically connected parties?

I wonder if Booker, Joe D, Cerf or our Governor fit anywhere into this picture??
Just asking !

Op-Ed: A Call for Fairness in School Options
All our children deserve quality schools, and quality education within them
 print | email | share
By Junius Williams, Esq., August 1, 2012 in Opinion |4 Comments

In law school, we were taught to evaluate contracts, including leases, looking at the interests created and protected within the four corners of the document. Using this approach we can see which party has the most power by determining the dominant interests, despite public proclamations to the contrary. Through this lens and looking at a recently state superintendent approved long-term lease with an option to buy public school property granted to a charter school in Newark, we see the inequity of bargaining position that has been visited upon the taxpayers, parents and students in Newark. If one examines the interests advanced in this document, we see evidence of the belief held by many people in Newark that we have a two-tiered education system in Newark, one for charter schools and their private partners, and one for the general population of students.

So let us examine the lease with option to buy 18th Ave. School, between Newark Public Schools (NPS) and TEAM Academy. This lease-purchase arrangement was recently the subject of a Newark Advisory Board veto, but was overridden by District Superintendent Cami Anderson. The tenant is a nonprofit corporation, but not TEAM. Under the lease, the tenant has the option to assign (or transfer) its interest to any entity with which it is “affiliated.” This assignment is not subject to NPS or even state approval.
 Also, the tenant or its “assignee” has an option to purchase the building which can be exercised on or before July 1,2013 at a “market price” which will reflect the value of a beat-up, old building, built in the 19th century. A cheap sales price is therefore guaranteed.

But then the document makes reference to use by the tenant or it assignee of a federal program called the Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB) to renovate the building after the option has been turned into a contract of sale on July 1, 2013. Upon a call to The National Education Foundation, I learned that New Jersey has been allocated $32 million under this program. But the state, which runs the Newark District, has processed $14 million for renovation for charter school use, but none for public school use. The $17 million remains uncommitted, but the Newark District under state supervision has not stepped forward, although eligible. The governor has frozen state bonds available for school construction. Why can’t the DOE ask the Economic Development Administration to sell and guarantee these interest-free bonds under this program for NPS to improve its general population schools, requesting the use of the Face Book money as the 10% match? This would enable the District to modernize 18th Avenue, issue short-term leases to TEAM or any other charter school with a right to reclaim possession upon sufficient notice. The city is growing and the taxpayers would then preserve a valuable asset for future use.

Under the lease, a private entity will enjoy the benefits of the appreciation in the value of 18th Avenue School, using the taxpayers’ money to fix it up, after it has been sold at a rock bottom price. The new private owner of the school can lease it back to NPS or even TEAM at top dollar, and depreciate and get other tax advantages if it is for-profit entity.

The injustice of this policy is also seen in rental revenue in four short-term leases, also approved by the state through Superintendent Anderson at the same time as the 18th Avenue lease-purchase agreement. NPS administrators revel in the projection of $500,000-$600,000 in rent from all five leases. Between the commencement of the lease and the date of sale, 18th Avenue School will be leased for $1.50 per square foot. The best-projected rental price for another school is $5.25 per square foot. However, business property in Newark is going for about $14 to $17 per square foot. The QZAB bonds have been available to the state for years. If Newark buildings were renovated and upgraded using the QZAB and/or state Abbott bond money, the district would be in a better bargaining position to rent unused schools at a higher price, and thus earn two or three times more rent. The sum of $500,000-600,000 is not very much money when the district has a shortfall of $36 million, caused in part by increased reliance upon charter schools.

Instead of a policy to empty the buildings of neighborhood schools, and enter into a lease-sale scheme that will turn public real estate over to private interests at bargain prices, the state should use all available funding, including QZAB, and Abbott construction bond proceeds to renovate and construct new schools for the general population, providing them with improvements such as science labs and electrical upgrades for high-speed internet, or complete rehabilitation in the case of schools like 18th Avenue. The state should use its resources equitably, rather than provide good deals only for charter schools and their partners. All our children deserve quality schools, and quality education within them.
More in Opinion »
Junius Williams, Esq. is the Director of the Abbott Leadership Institute.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

State Run Education is Great (If you Don't Mind Mind Control)

I happened to read this article on the Internet and I think it makes some interesting points about the State's takeover of education.

The New Totalitarianism: How American Corporations Have Made America Like the Soviet Union

 By Sara Robinson, AlterNet

 Posted on July 15, 2012, Printed on July 16, 2012

Education: Testing, Not Teaching

 My eighth-grade civics teacher used to terrify our class with grim stories about the education endured by our unlucky peers in the USSR. Communist education, she said, was nothing but rote learning -- no discussion, no critical thinking skills, all aimed at preparing kids for high-stakes standardized testing that would ultimately determine their place in the Party hierarchy. They weren't free like we were to explore our own interests, or choose professions that pleased them. Rather than being treated like full, autonomous human beings being prepared for a limitless future of their own design, they were sorted and graded like potatoes, and tracked to serve the needs of the state. All of the decisions, we were told, were dictated by the central authorities in charge of determining what kind of workers the state would need, and which schools students would be sent to in order to fulfill those goals.

 The ironies abound. Even as China has ramped up its efforts to inculcate creativity and critical thought in its students, the United States has voluntarily given up on those values -- our competitive edge over the world for the past 150 years -- in favor of a centralized, test-driven schooling regimen that only a Soviet bureaucrat could love. Increasingly, the doors to the best high schools and universities are closed to everyone but those in the top echelons of society, (who can pay the outlandish tuitions) just as the best schools in the USSR were set aside for the children of the Party leadership. But the greatest irony of all is that, far from being done in the name of the state, this is being done by taking education out of the hands of the state and giving it over to for-profit corporations. Again, the more "private industry" gets involved, the more the outcome looks like something from a 1950s John Birch caricature of the horrors of Soviet life.