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

Saturday, 14 December 2013

There's Gold in Them There Schools - And Wall Street Comin' to Stake Its Claim !

If you think all the "education reform" stuff in really about improving education, think again !
"Education Reform" is just a back door approach to privatization. The claims of inferior teachers and failing schools are used as wedges to crack the door open wide enough for Wall Street carpetbaggers and cronies of connected politicians to sneak in and grab the billions of education dollars just waiting to be scooped up. 
Tenure "reform" (elimination) is a prelude to the takeover by private interests. Teachers who have worked for years to arrive at decent pay levels will be easy to fire and replaced with low cost people thus insuring even greater profits when corporations finally gain full control of the system. 
The elimination of seniority under the guise of keeping "the best" teachers when layoffs occur really means keeping "the lowest paid" teachers, again to increase corporate profits once schools are privatized. (And it isn't that far off!)
How about bargaining rights? 
Kiss them goodbye!
After years of fighting to establish a fair and equitable system for determining teacher rights and compensation future "negotiations" will be "hat in hand". 
The only rights that will remain for teachers will be the right to be continually bullied, defamed and blamed ! 


Sunday, 8 December 2013

A Smell Arises From the Trough at RU

The total cost of this "bullying" incident.

Skadden,Arps,Slate, Meagher & Flom   $   481,685
Connell Foley                                             $     64,000
Rice Settlement (Former coac                        $   475,000
Pernetti (former AD)                                   $1,200,000
New Basketball Coach*                              $5,000,000
Athletic Dir. Search                                     $     70,000
Crisis Management (?)**                              $   150,000
Total                                                                $7,440,685

*The five year contract for the new coach who has roughly a .330 win average.
** I am not for "bullying" anyone but a coach throwing a ball and yelling at a twenty something person who stands over six feet tall and weighs near two hundred pounds;I don't know if I would call this "bullying"? Does this really rise to the level of "crisis"??
Is this person being "bullied" or simply being subjected to a coach's mature tantrum. If the "bullied" person was so offended, couldn't he just have said "I quit" and leave the team? 
Does RU really have to spend this exorbitant amount of money (BTW it is our money, the taxpayers of NJ) to cure the problem.
Why do we have to shovel all this money to high priced lawyers and companies to correct this "bullying" incident?
Is it possible that a word or two to the coach and the athletic director could have sufficed?
Well, I guess not, probably because then all the aforementioned would not be in line to receive the outlandish payouts that were awarded!
And while I'm at it, how about some other RU payouts and financial irregularities occurring over the recent past.

The former president of RU (McCormick) retires and as part of his "contract" comes back to teach 15 credit hours per semester at a salary of $315,000 per year!
The football stadium is renovated at a cost of $108,000,000 and has never been sold out since (not even close). Some of the cost has been obtained from donors but not that much. The rest was financed via bonds and of course RU (us) must pay the interest.
The present president (Barchi) receives a salary of over $600,000 per year and I don't really consider that a problem, it's a big job.
But - he also sits on Boards of Directors that do business with RU and is paid over $300,000 by them. 
Our Governor does not sees a conflict of interest here! 
He must have a serious vision problem or an inordinate amount of faith in the integrity of both Barchi and the companies !!!
I don't know about you, but for me, much of this has a very bad smell !
And meanwhile, tuition and fees* continue to rise. 
* A back door way of extracting even more money from students without calling it a tuition increase. 
Orwellian Newspeak at its best!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

A Pension for Shamelessness

Public workers - set up to be screwed again!
Our government has plenty of money for Iraq and Afghanistan (until 2024) but not for our own cities and states.
Money for $300M jets that not even the military wants, money for troops in Germany, Japan, South Korea, etc.(for over fifty years), all of it pouring out of Washington in a deluge.
Billions of dollars for banks and insurance companies flood from the Capitol while cities and states are left poor and humbled. (And as an aside government officials continually talk of cutting "entitlements" to save money!)

To make matters even more disgusting, judges who qualify for super generous pensions get to decide if others may have their meager pensions eliminated !
If bankruptcy is invoked, I can't wait see the salaries and fees of those who preside over it and which "in bed" law firms and cronies are assigned to it.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Common Core and More

Mr. Young is wrong - but only about one thing! 
"Education IS quantifiable"! 
The quantity of public money shoveled to corporations to provide volumes of testing, new "innovative" curricula and highly paid administrative positions is quantifiable and IS in the $$$ BILLIONS !  
The end game is to create a privatized public educational system so as to extract even more taxpayer dollars from it for political buds and sycophants. 
A major problem with education today lies at the feet of the teachers themselves. They continually fail to actively  respond to the bullying and derision by politicians and opportunistic "education reformers". Instead, they cower and meekly  absorb the abuse without a whimper.
An unending parade of "innovative" educational schemes, with high sounding acronyms, is conjured up by those with no true teaching experience and foisted on them daily. Yet, they continue to voice no meaningful protest or outcry.
Until "the worm turns" it will be business as usual for those who seek to drive public education with all its potential profits into the private hands of political cronies.

 "There's gold in them there schools!"

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Here They Are! The Titans of Education "Reform" !

These are the people that are telling teachers what to teach, when to teach and how to teach? How many other professions would stand idly by and allow this to happen without protest?
Would we ever expect to have a Surgeon General without medical experience?
Would we ever expect to have an Attorney General without legal experience?"
Only in the world of education could this be possible!
BTW here is an excerpt from Mr. Cerf's (NJ Commissioner of Education) bio - "Mr. Cerf served as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. He graduated from the Broad Urban Superintendents Academy in 2004. Prior to attending law school, he spent four years as a high school history teacher in Cincinnati, Ohio."

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The Democruds

My Comment -
Evidently, the people of New Jersey enjoyed having an egoistically, bloated, loud mouthed, liar as Governor.
He is a wonderful example for our children and our State!

As for the “Democrats” that ignored Buono or even cast their support to “The Governor” as he likes to call himself; they should hang their heads in shame. That includes Joe D. the pension grabber and the Black Jesus in Washington! 

PS – Bob – A great article once again!

Friday, 1 November 2013

Equal Under the Law?

    I have to say, right up front, that Mr. Gonzalez was injudicious in what he said (or is accused of saying anyway).
   However, after reading this article a question comes to mind? 
During my teaching career, I witnessed instances where "students" consistently harassed and "bullied" the teacher! In light of all the Bullying Laws currently in place, would it be legitimate for a teacher to file "bullying" and/or harassment charges against "students" or are these laws reserved for only "students" being "bullied"?
   Just wondering ? What do you think ?
PS - I have put "students" in quotes because those who are constantly disruptive and disrespectful can hardly be called "students"!
PSS - Teachers who experience such "bullying" and report it to their superiors are sometimes disregarded in that the "students" are not disciplined and merely sent back to class to continue their antics. There are even cases where teachers have been threatened with job loss because they "can't control the class"!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Congrats Mr. Braun!

Congrats Mr. Braun!
I could never have said it as well as you have. You have covered all the based and hit a home run.Unfortunately, in a country that elected George Bush TWICE, there are few who will listen to you. 
They have proven that they appreciate sideshow antics much more than their own best interests !

Interesting info from a reader
I am a retired hedge fund trader who worked for Dean Witter Reynolds/Morgan Stanley from 1982-2009. I am writing this in response to Mr. Tom Moran’s comment….apparently he is hard to contact during normal business hours. I take exception to his statement that David Tepper* is “trying to help” the education process. David’s main focus in professional life was to make money for his customers, and make even more for himself. He is not in it “to help”. As a portfolio manager from 1987-2009, I was responsible for the managment of emerging companies and industries. Both Kaplan and Apollo Group were companies that were part of David’s spectrum. Apollo is the owner of the University of Phoenix, the world’s largest for-profit university. Kaplan is the naiton’s largest test prep company. Both companies are extremely profitable…and David has shared in that profit. Whatever plans David has for “education” has only one goal in mind….to make David even more wealthy. You failed to mention another former hedge fund director from FL who is now the state’s Superintendent of Schools…Christopher Cerf. Mr Cerf made quite a pretty penny when he was managing the Edison Group, the owners of the Edison Schools. Because Cerf’s name and background were brought up during a criminal indictment in Central Florida, he is no longer able to hold a Securities license in either FL or NY State. I do not know if there is a reciprocity agreement in NJ…apparently so, since his name does not turn up on the SEC list.

*Tepper is a prime sponsor of Better Education for Kids - B4Kids - An education "reform" organization. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

A New Staff Member Joins Rutgers Faculty - Robo Prof !

As usual, there are a lot of questions to be answered about any new privatization plan.
(1) Who hires those who will create the Internet lectures? Pearson or Rutgers?
(2) Will new lectures be recorded each year or will the same ones be used over and over?
(3) How will those lecturers be paid? A flat fee or on a residual basis each time the lecture is viewed?
(4) Will the cost of tuition be substantially reduced using this "online" teaching method?
(5) Will the executive payout at Pearson or any other private company that produces "online education" for Rutgers be held at reasonable levels?
(6) Will university admissions be unlimited since classroom seating space will no longer be a factor?
(7) Will "online" students be required to pay fees relating to on campus activities?
(8) How long will it be before "online education" filters down into secondary and elementary schools?
(9) What are the tenure implications when a large number of professors will be supplanted by "online education"?
(10) Will tenure play a part in the selection of those who will teach the "online" courses?
(11) Will the lectures be live or recorded?
(12) If recorded, who will have the rights to the recordings, Pearson, Rutgers or the professor?

Friday, 27 September 2013

You Are Kidding??

I'm absolutely amazed by the ignorance of "smart" people running for public office.
Here's a guy that says, just ask your parent for college tuition money ??
Sure, "Hey Dad you got an extra $200K laying around you could give me?"
If he didn't realize the stupidity of the statement before he said it, all he had to do is look at how well that exact comment worked out for his Republican colleague, Romney.
However, to his credit he doesn't hesitate when supporting a change in federal marijuana laws.The current federal policy on marijuana use is a travesty in that it has destroyed the prospects of many young people before they even get started in life and all for no good reason.
On the other hand Mr. Booker says he wants a "national conversation" on marijuana. What the hell does he think has been going on for the past ten years??
The real reason that he wants a  "national conversation" is because he lacks the courage to make a clear statement as did Mr. Lonegan.
If he is elected to the Senate, will he require a "national conversation" on every controversial topic that is presented to him?

Thursday, 19 September 2013

"Smart Teachers" - A Contradiction in Terms

Just when I'm about ready to quit writing this blog another inane article about education and educational schemes appears in the paper and I can't help myself  but to comment on it !
Here the state wants only "Smart Teachers" and a GPA of 3.0  or better will insure that ?
Do we really think that a student studying Basket Weaving with a GPA or 3.0 is smarter than one studying Nuclear Engineering with a GPA of 2.9 let's say ?
How naive can you be, especially when there is a continual dearth of science and math teachers.
It looks like the state educrats in their wisdom, have  issued a blanket statement without much thought and in doing so, maybe it shows that they themselves aren't really that smart ! 
Additionally, how smart can anyone be, who would spend tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollar to obtain a job in a "profession" that is constantly humiliated, denigrated and disrespected.
What "smart" individual would enter a "profession" where job security has been eliminated and is now, more than ever, subject to political whim and expediency ?
Who would start a career where pension benefits and benefits in general are continually "reformed" (reduced).
Why would an intelligent person enter a "profession" filled with greedy and lazy people who are only in it for "summers off" as described by a plethora politicians and newspaper articles.
Who would want a job where they are held accountable for the performance of others over which they have little or no control and  where attempts at control can be seen as bullying or harassment?
Why would anyone enter employment where even the slightest accusation of impropriety by anyone, results in instantaneous suspension or dismissal, front page news and the immediate assumption of guilty. 
The way things have gone for the teaching "profession" during  the past ten years and are continuing to go, makes me think that anyone, even those with GPA of 4.0, who enter teaching, can't be that smart !!
It is truly unfortunate that politicians, with the cooperation of the media, have turned a noble profession into one of ridicule and detain ! 


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Vouchers and Vetos

How much of the $2.1 Billion in tax breaks goes to the workers of these companies and how much goes to the executives and upper echelon ?
How many jobs are created via these tax breaks and what is the cost per job ?
Who is actually doling out the $2.1 billion? (I think I can answer this one - you and me!)

Vouchers will permit most parents to chose- okay! - from "cheap schools" if they exist and I'm not too sure they will for long.

Once the deluge of students from public schools flood the market, the "half the cost of public school" institutions will no longer exist! Has Muslhine ever heard of supply and demand?
If anyone thinks that the cost of education will remain low at these schools, all they need do is look at what has happened to college costs and especially private colleges costs !
It will soon become the parent's job to start saving for a child's elementary and high school education let alone college.
Well, of course, I'm sure that elementary loans and high school loans will spring up immediately to fill the gap and further indenture the middle and lower classes.
If these people have their way with privatizing public education, a real bright future for American education is looming large on the horizon ??

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Teachers Are Threatened With the Loss of Something They No Longer Have ??

"That’s why we organize ourselves to fight for our profession"
When NJEA supported the de facto elimination of the tenure law I don't see it as "fighting for our profession".
In the 70s this kind of thing would have been met with walk outs, picket lines and strikes. Today it's met with conciliation, sappy TV ads and cowering.

I read recently that NJEA spends the most of any organization on lobbying in Trenton. It surely doesn't appear that the money is well spent if the new "Elimination of Tenure Law" is the result !

For those of you who worked in at NHS, does the name "Presuto" ring a familiar bell ???

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

We Aint Got a Barrel of Money ! (Except for more wars that is)

It's a sad commentary when the government has tons of money for Iraq, Afghanistan and now Syria,  $100M jets planes that no one wants or needs, a myriad of military bases on foreign soil,  foreign aid to dictatorships and corrupt politicians, and big bank bailouts (with no one going to prison)  but no money for us (the citizens of our own country) !
No money to fund Social Security, pension obligations of cities and states, Medicare, help balance state and city budgets, repair infrastructure and create jobs.
The priority of the government should be America first but without a cadre of lobbyists and political donors promoting the interests of our citizens this will never happen !
It's sad to see how far the U.S. has come - backwards !
Read the most recent article at:

Thursday, 22 August 2013

A Curious Contradiction

It is interesting that the Gov is all for evaluating teachers based on student test results but in the case of hiring and advancement for State workers tests should play no part ??

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

A Friend Just Sent This Email to Me

A friend just sent this email to me and I replied and thought that maybe you might be interested too -
BTW - What's your opinion ??

What do you think of the proposal for the state to take part of your income in exchange for paying for your education.

It’s good to hear from you.

I’m flattered that you ask for my opinion.

As to my feelings about the current plan, it’s just another mechanism to avoid confronting the real issue, “Why is college so expensive?”

When you and I went to school the tuition was but a fraction of what it is today. You might say “Sure but everything was cheaper too” but so were incomes and so that’s not a good excuse.

(See my previous article - Monday, August 12, 2013  - The College Loan Bubble - Toil and Trouble).

Back to the question you asked about the currently proposed scheme – any plan that indentures people for a lifetime to pay outlandish college costs, whether it be upfront or back door, doesn’t appeal to me at all !

All this will do, as the student loan program has done, is to encourage even higher tuitions and fees. The whole thing is similar to credit cards, which certainly have induced even more spending by consumers and allowed

prices to rise even more than the would have without them.

Thanks again for asking.


Monday, 12 August 2013

The College Loan Bubble - Toil and Trouble

Let me add a little personal, anecdotal history about college tuition in New Jersey.
In the early 60s when I graduated from high school I had no money for college. Consequently, I got a job as a carpenter's assistant for $1.25 per hour. When I finally accumulated enough money I applied to Montclair State College and was accepted.
The tuition rate was $75 per semester and I don't remember any additional fees being involved.
The reason I applied to MSC was because of the lower tuition, RU was somewhat higher but still not exorbitant by comparison. At the end of my four years, the tuition rate had not changed.
Many of my peers at MSC had applied for and received the State Scholarship which covered all their tuition costs. Since I did not enter college immediately after high school I did not qualify and never received its advantage.
But that is not my point.
How is it that now tuition rates throughout the state (and everywhere) are sky high ?
Why are students now required to saddle themselves with tens of thousands of dollars of debt ?
Who could work their way through college today ?
Why is the national Student Loan debt over a trillion dollars ?
I guess you might say inflation, things are much more expensive today but of course wages are much higher too so it all kind of evens out.
Well, I'm not so sure !
The average minimal wage in the early 60s was about what I was paid, maybe a bit higher, $1.50 - $1.75 per hour, Let's say today that wage is $10 per hour. This means it has increased roughly sevenfold. Certainly, seven times $150 (the yearly tuition at State schools in the 1960s) does not come close to today's rates and fees at these schools.
Am I saying that tuition today should be $1050 ? No, but it surely shouldn't be $10,000 either !
Now, how about the student loan situation ?
The recent furor over loan rates being raised resulted in their being capped (to some extent anyway) and people cheered. Not me !
I think the conversation should have been directed at why tuitions are so high and how they should be lowered. Instead, loan rates where lowered (I mean not raised as much) which simply encourages more borrowing.
To add insult to injury not only have the costs increased to dramatic heights, at the same time the school year has been sharply reduced.
In the 60s and before, the first semester started at the beginning of September and extended to mid January with a one week Christmas break. After the first semester was completed there was a one week intermission and the second semester began. The last day of the school year occurred the second week in June.
I've done some calculations and I find that today's college four year education is actually a full year short of that of the 1960s.
The bottom line -  lots less for lots more !
Another math exercise I did was to figure out the cost per hour of class time. At RU it is over $30 per hour (in state students). A ticket to a Broadway show which lasts for two and a half hours is about $75 (a reasonably good seat). You do the math !
And to make things even worse, many classes consist of hundreds of students, all herded into an auditorium with the professor appearing the size of a dime below. Questions from the students, I don't think so. Questions are reserved for the TAs, low cost graduate students trying to pay their own tuition bills.
My own college experience consisted of class sizes of twenty and less with student questions handled by the professor during class time. (And the professor was always available after class for more questions).
Is college today a scam on the middle class or is it just my cynicism showing through as usual ?

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

I Couldn't Help Myself

After seeing the "Stronger Than The Storm" ad about two dozens times I just couldn't stop myself from reworking it a bit.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Guess Who's Next !

"Hundreds of billions of dollars in federal contracts, grants, loans, concession agreements and property leases go to private companies that pay low wages, provide few benefits, and offer employees little opportunity to work their way into the middle class."

This is just the plan politicians have for public education going private. The whole thing is being set up by the constant degradation of teachers, attempts to end collective bargaining for public workers, elimination of tenure and unreasonable evaluation parameters. What are teacher unions doing about this? In my opinion, not much except whining ! It appears to me that the honchos in the unions might be more concerned about protecting their big salaries than really confronting the situation head on!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

I Have a "Conflict in Understanding" !

When I was elected to the BOE, I was required to give up a little part time job videoing the high school football games (which I had done for twenty years prior) because it was considered a "conflict of interest" and an "ethics violation"?
The "conflict of interest" was not $317,000. It amounted to about $800 per year !

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The "State" of Education


43% win average ???

The RU football coach - Shiano- record 68-67 - salary $2M + plenty of bennies.
The RU basketball coach - salary $650 and a "firing bonus" of over $400K.
The RU AD is given a "quitting bonus" of $1M.
The RU "athletic lawyer" (whatever that means) - $400K a "resigning bonus".
The new basketball coach - salary $1M per year for five years.
The women's basketball coach - $900K per year (at least she's winning).
The retired college Prez - $335,000 per year for teaching 15 hours per week.
The football stadium renovated for $102M with a capacity of 54,000 and the largest attendance ever
was 47,000 five years ago.

I spoke with someone the other day about the outrageous salaries of college coaches. He told me that the reason was that successful athletic programs brought alumni dollars to the school. He said that he had been to a Penn State football game a few years back and the alumni there were throwing money at the school hand over fist.
Well, I happened to look up some info about Penn State and it seems that they are not only number one in athletics but also number one in tuition costs for in-state students. In-state tuition is over $17K.
Doesn't it make you wonder where all that alumni money (if it is really being donated as he claims ) is going ??


If  "big time" athletics helps a college's finances, then why has RU's tuition doubled during the past ten years over which time RU has been aspiring to become part of the"big show"?

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Christie Reelection Ads

Another trick to use public funds for a reelection campaign.
This is like when Whitman "borrowed" from the pension fund to lower taxes and thereby enhance her reelection efforts. Another use of public funds to pump up a reelection campaign.
And when McGreevy "back-doored" the pension by not requiring towns to contribute thereby lowering local taxes and again enhancing reelection chances.  
It seems they all figure out a way to use public monies to enhance their own image at the taxpayer expense.                                      

Monday, 1 July 2013

Just Another Stop on the Union Busting / Privatization Tour

*  "an American original" bully and loud mouth - is this a person that we should teach children to emulate ?

** "with children fidgeting in their seats" - evidently he didn't "engage" the children in the lesson very well !

*** "who he said cares more about pensions" - so no one should care when the State fails to make good on the decades old promise of a reliable pension ?

**** "consistently good grades" - as assigned by whom and on what basis ?? 


Having been educated by such a poor public system how did our Governor rise to his current station ? Does he think it was all accomplished exclusively by his own efforts and his public school education played little if any part? 

Sunday, 23 June 2013

For What It's Worth??

I have many questions:

Should RU continue its quest to become an athletic powerhouse?

And can this even be achieved ?

What is the true motivation behind  this attempt to bring "big time" sports to RU?

If accomplished will it really help the universities' prestige?
And if so, how ?

Is providing unpaid farm teams for the NFL and NBA a worthwhile goal for our State university?

Should the highest paid public employee in the State be the RU football or basketball coach?

What was the problem with RU remaining in the Patriot League in the first place?

Did RU  think it had to pump up its athletic image to attract more applications? 

How does high caliber athletics help to attract high caliber students?

How is a universities' "pride"  based on  its athletic program?

(BTW - what do they mean by a universities' "pride" anyway?)

As the song goes "Gimme some truth, all I want is the truth!"

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Figures That Are Hard to Figure !

Money spent in Iraq and Afghanistan
$1.5 trillion

Troops stationed
in Germany, Japan, Korea,etc.
(over 700 bases - $100 billion a year)

Net US Government Bailout Outlays (after repayments)     $3.3 trillion

 Total U.S. military spending makes up approximately 44 percent of all the military spending on the entire globe.

The Pentagon currently gobbles up 56 percent of all discretionary spending by the federal government.

The total price tag for each F-22 fighter jet is approximately $350 million.

Egypt is second only to Israel in the amount of assistance it receives from the United States, an estimated $2 billion a year.

The House Armed Services Committee has voted to give Israel another half a billion dollars in military aid-- on top of the $3.1 billion we already give Israel

and meanwhile:

"Cities Face Tough Choices as U.S. Slashes Block Grants Program"

"US cities under increasing financial strain, says study"

"Federal aid cuts worsen New York City budget woes"

"U.S. cities face threats from federal cuts to revenues, economies"

Monday, 10 June 2013

A Picture is Worth a Thousand (Well Maybe Tens of Millions) of Words !

And most of them are hired to run what are essentially no cost “farm teams” for the NFL and NBA !

and BTW
NFL and NBA are “non profits” !!!!!

( In 2012 alone, the league paid approximately $53.8 million to its big -ticket execs, including $11.6 million to Commissioner Roger Goodell and $8.5 million to former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who replaced Rozelle in 1989 and ran the league until Goodell replaced him in 2006. In 2011, Goodell received a $22.3 million bonus after negotiating several enormously lucrative extensions with the television networks that provide the predominant percentage of the league's revenues.)

and BTW
RU is spending millions of taxpayer and student monies to eagerly join the “farm team” system.

RU tuition and fees have doubled in the past ten years!!