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

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Goodbye and Good Luck

I would like to thank all of you who have read my tirades and rants over the years. After viewing the results of this week's elections I have finally seen the error of my ways.
   Here's a sample of what I've seen and what leads me to my decision.
   Joe D. is reelected in a landslide after ignoring the Democratic candidate for governor and openly supporting Christie.  He is also being accused of spending campaign funds for personal use with documented evidence and he collects his pension while still working (no pension reform for him!)
   Scott Walker is reelected after successfully destroying bargaining rights for public workers which represent a large segment of the middle class in WI.
   John Grimes from Staten Island is reelected after threatening to throw a reporter over a balcony in the Capitol because he didn’t like the question he was asked.
List goes on!
   I am giving up playing Don Quixote. I am going into rehab and try to cure myself of my ongoing delusion that my writing could possibly help to stimulate meaningful opposition to the bashing and derision of teachers and public workers (basically then the middle class).
   I will be writing no more posts in the foreseeable future. If anyone would like to replace me just write to me at: wsautter@optonline.net.
I will give you complete instructions on how to use and modify this blog site for your postings if you care to do so.
   Again, thanks for reading over the years.
Finally, for all you teachers and public workers - "Best of Luck" - I think you are going to need it.


"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." 
         H.L. Mencken



See the ultimate plan in the cartoon above.





US editor (1880 - 1956) 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Great Moments in History

I guess the GWB scandal has been squashed? 
The Sandy / Christie campaign ad money problem is gone? 
The Hunterdon County Sheriff's Office investigation is no longer proceeding? 
The Hoboken Mayor's charges have been dismissed?
Otherwise why would the turtle feel free to come out of his shell and resume his brutish, ill mannered tactics?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Christie For President ??

                               
Christie as president! That's would be some sweet stuff! I'll leave the translation of the Russian in the video to you.

P.S. - Here's a guy that wants to blame Obama for not cleaning up the mess left by Bush but refuses to accept the blame for his not cleaning up the Sandy mess?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Learnin' Stuff Ain't Cheap!

It appears that in order to obtain a college education a student or his parents must become indentured servants of banks and/or the government!
BTY - Many of those indebted leave college without a degree! And if you've noticed the advertising by "for profit" schools is constant on both radio and TV (DeVry, Berkeley, Star, Phoenix, etc.). There must be a ton of money in the "education business".


Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Race to the Bottom for NJ Retirees

I noticed both of these articles in the same Ledger addition last week. I wonder how many of the households led by persons 65 and older are in the State Pension Plan? Will "The Governor's" attacks on the pension fund reduce that $45,092 to even lower levels in coming years? 
How about the second article, the map of real estate values. How could all the rich be fleeing the state (as "The Gov." suggests) and still have property values in the state remain at the magnitudes shown? Does anyone really think that a millionaires tax would drive people from these lavish abodes?
I don't think "The Gov." actually believes that it would either. He just wants to make sure that his rich buds and donors don't have to contribute any more support to those that help them to maintain their opulent life style in New Jersey.
God forbid one of them might have to down grade from the Rolls Phantom Coupe ($476K) to the lowly old Phantom Sedan ($410K) next year!




Thursday, October 9, 2014

Please Don't Tell Me That You're Surprised - (repost with addendum)


I just happened to read this in a column by Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report and have decided to add it to my most recent post because of its relevance.

"Al Sharpton, the MSNBC host and presidential pit bull, reciprocated the University of Phoenix’s sponsorship of his TV special Advancing the Dream with a puff piece on the for-profit giant’s online offerings, featuring the NFL’s Larry Fitzgerald, a Phoenix student and booster. Phoenix University excels all others in funneling Black people’s educational dollars directly to Wall Street via the Apollo Group, a $5.36 billion corporation with ties to the super-predatory Carlyle Group."

The Carlyle Group is one of the hedge funds in which NJ pensions are invested and to which Robert Gardy (the Christie appointed  manager of NJ pension funds)  has long standing ties.

******************
Additionally, Mr. Ford reports -

"The Obama administration may abhor the chaos in which players like the University of Phoenix and Ashford University have become the top producers of baccalaureate degrees among Blacks. But the administration – and the Democratic Party, as an institution – also worships at the alter of privatization. Rather than eliminate the felonious educational enterprises root and branch – and spend the money on a nationalized system of free education – Obama will continue to provide tens of billions to nourish the poisoned tree."

Every year we spend $32 billion on these for-profit institutions. Why not use that money for tuition-free colleges for students who need higher education--and bypass Wall Street?"

*****************
Ain't that sweet? It appears that every politician and government official - left, right and center - is intent on stealing taxpayer and retiree monies in whatever ways possible.








Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A "Gotta See" Movie


 I happened to be watching television the other night and I noticed a familiar face as I scanned the channels. (I am a constant channel surfer. I just can't seem to control myself). The face was that of Father Leahy of Saint Benedict's Prep. I knew him from the days when I was coaching at Nutley and we wrestled against Saint Benedict's. He was most often there to root his team on (although  they really didn't  need his encourage since I rarely, if ever remember beating them). 
He and several others were featured in a film about Saint Benedict's, about its history, its mission and its operation. The film was called "The Rule" and was played on PBS. 
You can see more about it at http://www.bongiornoproductions.com/THE_RULE/THE_RULE.html
The things that fascinated me were the dedication, compassion and results of the efforts by the monks (and lay people) at the school.
After seeing the kinds of things that had to be done in order ensure the success of the young men at Saint Benedict's I began to think about public education in New Jersey and the attempts by the State to improve it. 
There is no public school in the land (and few if any private ones) that has the wherewithal to do the kinds of things that are done there at Benedict's. It was made obvious in the film that without the procedures and programs that are used at Benedict's, the odds of saving children are slim at best. By the way, the religious aspect of the program was not even discussed and I got the strong impression that religion was far from the main factor in achieving their success.
As I watched the film (for an hour and a half) I began to think - Every legislator, State Department of Education honcho and even "The Governor" should be required to view this film. I am sure it would make them fully aware that their name calling and degradation tactics against public education has little to do with creating any successful school. Simply calling a school "failing" because it cannot provide the environment and use the techniques that have made Benedict's a premier school is certainly not the answer.
To point fingers at "poor teachers", to shower them with busy work and forms, to renege on their pension benefits, to call them greedy and uncaring and to continually demean them to the status of field hands is definitely not the answer. The educational hierarchy must begin to appreciate  the enormity of the task and encourage teachers to do the best they possibly can under the circumstances which exist and stop casting blame and dictating dozens of cockamamie schemes from on high which are most certainly doomed to failure.   
It appears that the only proven answer (or the only one of which I am aware) to failing schools is to do as is being done at Benedict's. The results speak for themselves. But how realistic is this in the public school environment with hundreds of thousands of children?
Unfortunately, in order to achieve the Saint Benedict's results in a public school setting we would need thousands of teachers that would be willing to take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience; live at the school; being willing to take in children from a harsh environment and show them love and affection (and doing the latter in today's public schools will most certainly put you in prison - the days of hugging children of any age no matter your intent, are long since gone). What are the chances? 
For me, the film didn't as much describe what should be done in public education but moreover emphasized the difficulty of the task and the unlikelihood that the current attempts to "reform education" via teacher bashing, testing, scheming and name calling will ever succeed.
Look at the film trailer, see if you can find a replay on a PBS or maybe at “On Demand” and then write back and tell me what you think?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ike Knew His Stuff

More war!
 More shoveling of money to the MIC !
Stealing the wealth of the nation and robbing our citizens of sorely needed benefits and services.



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Monkeys and Dartboards



 What the graphs below show is that a monkey with a dartboard could have done better than our fund managers over the past few years.
BTW - the monkey would not work for peanuts but I'm sure bananas would do and certainly not $400M worth! 


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Christie - In a Class or Her Own

The man was United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey and he didn't know that the law was unconstitutional when he signed it. 
Really?
That is almost as hard to believe as his GWB "But I didn't know" ploy.
Was it incompetency or deceit? I'm voting for willful deceit. 
How about you?





Friday, August 29, 2014

What a Wonderful Wiz He is !

AND lest we forget:
(1)    $400M in Fed Ed aid that was lost (then he stuck it all on Schlinder)
(2)    $12M spend on unnecessary election (so he wouldn't be on the ballot with Booker)
(3)    doled out $10M as a parting gift to a Sandy aid relief distribution company (Hammerman & Gainer which was fired for poor performance)
(4)    Spent $7M for legal costs to his bud Mastro (the GWB problem and it’s still not over)
(5)    Lost $350M repayment to the Federal government when he reneged on the Arc Tunnel Project (lost the 3,000 construction jobs the tunnel was projected to generate for the next decade and also cost N.Y. and N.J. 44,000 jobs and $4 billion in additional income through economic growth, according to a 2008 study by New Jersey Transit)
(6)    Lost $7.7M for refusing to participate in the health care exchange program (and could have insured 95,000 additional uninsured New Jerseyans and would have cost the State nothing)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Dog Fights




Here is my comment which I have posted -

There are plenty of reasons teachers are under attack - the most notable is because they  are easy targets and don't fight back. If Albert Shanker was still alive politicians wouldn't find teachers so easy to accuse and abuse. Alas, he and those like him seem to no longer exist. Current union officials chose to cower instead to confront! Until teacher mentality reverts back to the days of the 1970s be prepared for more and more degradation and condemnation.
I have always remembered the sign on the wall of the football locker room when I was in high school.
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog that wins!"
Walt S.
http://teachersdontsuck.blogspot.com/
http://wsautter.com/

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

“The Governor” - A "No New Taxes" Kind of Guy ???

“No pain, no gain” – No pain for New Jersey’s wealthy and plenty for the middle class, the old and the disabled.
First “The Governor” reneges on the pension funding which  he so vehemently touted and claims that he will never sign a millionaire’s tax bill to help balance the budget. He is a “no new taxes” kind of guy!
Well, now if withholding the Homestead Rebate again from families earning $150,000 or less isn’t a tax increase then what is it?
 I am sure the Governor’s will come up with a newspeak term that will avoid calling it what it is - A TAX INCREASE.
Wait a minute!
Now, in retrospect, I suppose it really isn’t a tax increase; not on the wealthy anyway, since those earning in excess of $150,000 never qualified for the rebate in the first place. Again, only common folks and public employees * will be obliged to participate in the Governor’s “No pain, no gain” scheme.
With this TAX INCREASE “The Governor’s” fear of the rich leaving the State in droves need not even be considered and I suspect he certainly has no concern about the middle class and poor leaving. As a matter of fact I think he might even welcome their loss!
*Public employees who have been subjected to the pension “reform” will suffer double the “pain” since most fall under the $150,000 income level and now will also be denied (have postponed?) their Homestead Rebate.







Sunday, August 10, 2014

Oh - And Make Sure the Window Shades are Straight Too!

Mr. Fletcher’s article hits the nail right on the head but he fails to mention even more burdens currently placed on public education. Career awareness, dental exams, financial literacy, individualized special education programs, work study programs, drug alcohol and smoking prevention, obesity prevention, scoliosis testing, diversity training and preparation for a myriad of standardized testing all of  which are foisted on public schools throughout the year.

Then, to add insult to injury, public officials chose to malign, vilify, punish and attempt to turn the public away from the teachers who are assigned these herculean tasks.  
P.S.
I have started a petition pertaining to one of my pet peeves. You can see it at the top of the right hand sidebar. Please take a look and if you agree please sign it and pass it on to a friend or relative of like mindedness. Thanks.



Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Jersey Education Ain't That Good!

The New Jersey education system certainly has failed if 44% of the population still believes Christie is doing a good job!

During his administration:
*New Jersey’s credit rating has been reduced six times
*A $400M federal education grant was lost
*“The Governor” signs and promotes a law regarding pensions and then reneges on it a year later (then  he proclaims at a Town Hall Meeting – “A deal is a deal” – what BS!)
*An unnecessary election costing $24M was held for his political benefit
*The New Jersey unemployment rate has lagged the national average
*Millions of dollars of tax relief was given to corporations while no notable increase in jobs has occurred
*Sandy relief funds were mishandled by a 'good old boy' corporation selected by him
*The GWB debacle continues
*The shady handling of the Hunterdon County Sheriff’s situation has yet to be resolved
*“No new taxes” except for those who had their Homestead Rebate “postponed”!
*“The Governor” wormed his way into a Sandy ad spot (including his family) by paying the ad company an inflated price
*“The Governor’s” brother gets a cushy deal resulting from the renovation of the PATH station in Harrison.
*“The Governor” parcels out $3M (taxpayer money) for his lawyers to write him an excuse for the GWB  issue.
*And now he’s going on 14 “field trips” out of state attempting to become a presidential candidate! 
God help us but I guess in a country that elected George Bush twice – anything is possible!
If “The Governor” was a teacher I think he would certainly be rated “ineffective” and that’s being kind!

PS I am sure that you can think of more screw-ups. Please feel free to contribute.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

An Old School Teacher - Gone But Not Forgotten

Would you please send out an e-mail to all retirees that Tom Gallucci, Athletic Director at Nutley High School for many years, passed away.  He will be laid out at Shooks Funeral Home in Cedar Grove.  Details to follow.

Thank you.

Sue Peters

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Living Life in a Bubble


In a recent conversation with my son's friend I was surprised when he told me that he was still paying a student loan debt of $600 per month. I was surprised because he is 38 years old and I assumed that student loans would be long paid off by this age - 15 years after graduation that is!
Well, my assumption was obviously wrong and then a short time later I saw the article below. It appears that the plight of my son's friend is far from unusual.
After reading the article I began to think about the recent housing market bubble. It was kind of the same thing in that people were loaned vast sums of money without regard as to whether they could really handle the debt. But then I began to realize maybe the student loan problem is even worse! The housing debacle at least had some collateral behind it even if it was poor collateral it was better than none. What collateral do student loans have?
You might say that the projected income after graduation is the collateral but my further reading on the subject revealed that only 16% of the degrees obtained are in the highly employable STEM areas.  A large portion of the rest is in fields that have poor employment prospects and are likely to leave those graduates unable to pay off their loans. Additionally, only two kinds of debt are immune from discharge in bankruptcy, taxes and student loans and therefore I  wonder if they can even be legally written off by the issuer? This means that these loans will follow individuals for a lifetime (continually accumulating interest) until they are fully paid.
If the housing problem was called a "bubble" what term can be used to accurately describe this? I don't think "bubble" will do! How about "economic Armageddon"?
After thinking about all this for a while it occurred to me that maybe all my dread is unwarranted. The advent of on line learning could come to the rescue. College costs should surely plummet when students can take course at home with no classroom or actual instructor required.
Well, I'm wrong again!
Look at the article below this one describing the cost of on line course at SNHU, a highly advertised New England college.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Deal Okay - A Raw Deal

The man is a cheat and a sneak. I am sure that he knew when he signed the bill in 2012 that he would not come up with the money to fund the pension when the time came in spite of his promises. 
By not honoring the agreement which he touted, he created another opportunity to demonstrate to all his conservative buds how tough he is on unions and how willing he is to piss on public workers. He could  show how firmly he stands behind the wealthy and his donor interests. He could clearly show how his outreached hand was really there to give a slap in the face to hard working, middle class public employees rather than it being an indication of cooperation and honesty.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Duh!


Here is the editorial in yesterday's Star Ledger filled again with absurdity and fuzzy thinking.
It begins by claiming that the current actions by politicians and “educrats” are to "reform" seniority and tenure. Why do they refuse to call it what it is - ELIMINATION. Since when does reform = elimination?
They go on to claim that elimination of these rights, which have endured for over one hundred years, will make teaching more attractive and will help to recruit more highly qualified people.
Duh!
The editorial writer seems to think that academically talented people will flock to colleges and universities, dole out hundreds of thousands of dollars and devote countless hours of study to become a teacher. They will do this to get a job where they will become an "at will employee", can accrue no seniority, must work until 65 in order to retire, will pay an ever increasing portion of their health benefits costs, can look forward to a bankrupt pension system, be evaluated by the test taking skills of children on tests which may or may not be appropriate or accurate and endure constant criticism and degradation by the media and the public.
The editorial goes on to say "teachers must earn respect". Just exactly how can that be done in a situation where everything about your job comes from on high and often from those who have never taught or if they did it was decades ago in a private school for only four or five years at most. To make things even more difficult every new administration comes with a new educational scheme, new "experts" and plethoras of mandates and paperwork. 
These people tell you what to teach, when to teach it, how to teach it and then hold you responsible when it doesn't work.
How can someone earn respect when he is held as the scapegoat for high taxes and the "failing schools" that exist in impoverished communities?
How can teachers earn respect when they are held responsible for poor student performance but are given no tools to correct it? If a child refuses to study and cooperate no teacher, not even Socrates can make them learn.
The constant cry from the "educrats" and the media is the teacher is required to make it interesting - engage the student. So in other words, the teacher must be a teacher and an entertainer and a constant cajoler or else he is a poor teacher.
And what about disruptive behavior? How is he/she to deal with that?
Certainly corporal punishment is out as well it should be but now even raising one's voice might be considered "bullying". How about continually asking a student to pay attention or act appropriately? Could that be "bullying" or "singling out"?
If students do poorly on State testing is it because of a "poor" teacher? Is "poor student" participation in the learning process ever considered? And how about a poor attitude fostered at home?
I must assume that the writer of this editorial is a product of the American educational system. Considering that, I would have to agree that there must be some poor teachers in the system and those that taught him logic and reasoning must be among them.
PS
The article extols the virtues of Finish education. I have posted information about that system directly underneath the editorial and underlined some key ideas. It is interesting how it compares with our approach to education and educators. The key factor in their successful educational system is attitude which is exactly what American education lacks.
Americans seem to be saying - "We send them to school and it's your job to make them smart and if you can't do it you're a poor teacher!"
Finns seem to be saying - "Let's work together and do whatever we can to educate our children". They avoid finger pointing and name calling and constantly invoking the new schemes dreamed up the "education experts" year in and year out.




Friday, June 13, 2014

The Best and the Brightest ?????

"We want the 'Best and the Brightest' teachers in our classrooms!"
"Teachers Matter!"
"We are reaffirming our commitment to advancing teacher talent."
"I think teacher quality is really important."
The BS runs wide and deep.
I have some questions for those who continually spew this hollow rhetoric and phony accolades.
How bright can a person be who would willingly enter a profession which is constantly degraded and demeaned by politicians and the media throughout the land? 
How bright can a person be who would willingly enter a profession which has seen its seniority rights eliminated?
How bright can a person be who would willingly enter a profession which has seen a hundred year old tenure law stripped away in the blink of an eye?
How bright can a person be who would willingly enter a profession which has seen the retirement age increased by ten years over night?
How bright can a person be who would willingly enter a profession which reads daily about the inevitable collapse of the pension fund to which he must contribute throughout his entire working life?
 How bright can a person be who would willingly enter a profession which sees its bargaining rights threatened or eliminated?
How bright can a person be who would willingly enter a profession which sees a Governor break a promise and the law which he instituted and praised by refusing to properly fund the pension?
How bright can a person be who would willingly enter a profession which sees the C.O.L.A stripped from the pension of current retirees by a wave of the hand?
How bright can a person be who will willingly enter a profession which in the defined benefit pension will soon be replaced by a defined contribution plan (401K plan)?
Considering all the aforementioned, anyone entering teaching today can't possibly be that bright! 
**************************************************************************************************
Christie "celebrates" teachers - What a hypocrite!
Defined Benefits - Going, going, gone !
New Jersey has already eliminated tenure - 
They just use Orwellian Newspeak and call it "Reformed"

Seniority goes next - 
Even if you've taught your heart out for 25 years if someone's niece needs a job or you're just too expensive - 
As Ray Charles used to say - 'Hit the road Jack!" 


Just because the voters want fairness that doesn't mean it's going to happen!