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

Monday, 28 April 2014

"Free Speech" - I Don't Think So!

"Her grandfather was a sharecropper" - my grandfather was in the Prussian Army -  "So what ??"

Ms. Rice is to be paid $35,000 plus expenses for this commencement address!
Does that sound like "free speech"?
And who is paying - RU students with tuition and fee costs that have risen almost 100% during the past decade (much paid with student loans).
Couldn't they find someone to give the address for free and award an honorary degree to that person as compensation?
How about Cory Booker?

Oh - wait a minute - I almost forgot!
He gave a commencement address at The College of New Jersey a year or two ago and charged $10,000 !
Well but at least he's cheaper -
Oh -wait a minute again - now that he's Senator Booker maybe he wouldn't be that cheap after all?
Maybe we could go with "The Governor"?
He's always talking about containing costs and saving taxpayer's money (unless it's being handed out to lawyers)!
I bet he would do it (if there was a free meal involved)!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Saying It Like It Is - I Don't Think So!

Some other common euphemisms:

* Tenure reform - tenure elimination
* Pension reform - reneging on promises given to retirees (for over fifty years) by the State and raising pension and medical insurance costs to current employees
* Education reform - the State dictating what is taught, when it is taught and how it is taught
* Accountability - evaluating teachers based on student test results and observations many of which are made by people with no knowledge of the subject matter
* Core Curriculum Standards - a plan which allows government to tell schools what to teach, how to teach and when to teach it
* Charter School - a private school funded by the State many of which are run by politically connected cronies with large salaries and benefits
* Education experts - those who claim to know everything about public education even though they have had little or no first hand experience but are highly experienced in BS!

I am sure you have many more! Send them in!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Find Me a Millstone and a Pit !

         The lack of integrity on the part of “The Governor” is astonishing!!But his deceitfulness isn’t!
 He signs a bill to “reform” the pension plan and praises it far and wide as a major accomplishment and now wants to renege on its primary component – funding the pension!
       I can’t believe that this wasn’t his intent right from the get go. By agreeing to fund the pension as he did he was merely using it to get “his foot in the door” on his way to eliminating tenure and privatizing public education. And believe me folks tenure has not been “reformed” it has been eliminated! If teachers can now be fired without tenure charges being filed and a hearing but merely on the basis of two consecutive “poor evaluations”; how can this be considered a tenure system?
        Now we see “The Governor” decrying his $10M cut to cancer research and blaming it on pension costs to which he himself agreed! He not only agreed he extolled himself as being the first governor in years who pledged to make full payments. 
In order to get public sympathy for his reneging on his promise (and now a law) he is citing it to be the causative factor for cuts to cancer research. The whole thing is kind of like drowning a puppy and then saying ‘It really wasn’t my fault– the Devil made me do it!’
      If he wanted to point the finger at factors that forced him to make those cuts might he have chosen some of these instead?

- Special election costs of $12M designed to serve his political aspirations
- A botched Fed Ed grant of  $400M which he then blamed on Schindler and then fired him as a sacrificial lamb for his own poor oversight
- Bridgegate legal expenses $1M+ paid to his pal Mistro to write him an excuse.
- Nineteen directors at charter schools who were paid the maximum allowed salary — $225,734 — to oversee schools with anywhere from 30 to 327 students a day. And 52 people at these schools took home more than $175,000, the most superintendents are allowed to earn in public schools with up to 10,000 students.
- Corporations which (or should I say ‘who’ because as we all now know – corporations are people!) received over $2.6 billion in wasteful corporate tax breaks.
- Pension double dipping by cronies
- Politicians collecting pensions while still working the same job
- The myriad of companies supplying testing services to the State (about $23M worth last year)
- The companies supplying teaching programs and schemes to public schools

     But then again why should I expect “The Governor” to suggest any of these reasons as a basis for cutting cancer research? Any of them might help to expose the man behind the curtain as the hypocrite he is!

Since we have just celebrated Easter let me add that which Christ said about hypocrites-
“It better be that  millstones be tied around their necks and they be thrown into a pit where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”

Can anybody tell me where can I get a millstone and pit?

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

"The Governor's" Silence is Golden - For Lawyers That is!!

"The Governor"  (as he likes to call himself) finds it easy to decry spending when it comes to the salaries, benefits and pensions of public employees.
But why have we heard no outcry from him regarding taxpayer spending on legal costs? 
*(Please see the excerpt from the 2013 NJ Comptroller's Report below)
Why does he not propose a cap on the fees charged to the State by law firms?
His lack of comment on this issue speaks volumes about his hypocrisy!

Bunny Tails (+playlist)

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Paid College Athletes - But Who's Paying??

The current controversy is now whether college athletes should be paid. The NCAA of course opposes this while many others laud it’s coming to pass.
Now I think we need an objective look at the situation. A starting point might be the question as to why colleges and universities need or even should have “big time” athletics.  A second question might be – what purpose do athletics serve at colleges and universities and what purpose should they serve?
A constant cry from those supporting “big time” college athletics is that they bring revenue to the school primarily from bowl games and the alumni. Does the amount of revenue received exceed the expenditures? Well in some cases yes and in many other cases no!
If the revenues received are so vast then shouldn’t the tuition rates at “big time” sports institutions be exceedingly low because of the dollars flowing into them via the sports programs? Looking   at the chart below, I noticed that Penn State for example receives millions of dollars from their sports programs yet the in-state tuition is one of the highest in the nation? The same seems to be true at other institutions with high caliber sports programs.
Let’s pretend that rules are instituted that call for the paying of college athletes- who will do the paying? Will it be the NCAA? I doubt it since this could severely impact the lucrative salaries of its executives
Will it be the NFL or NBA?  They have had the advantage of no cost “farm teams” at the expense of college and university students for decades. I am sure they would sorely object to begin paying for these programs. They never have and I don’t think they would be about to start!
Well, then whose left? It looks like tuition paying students and state taxpayers.
Getting back to the actual purpose of college sports, I always thought that it was a mechanism to allow young people to participate and learn the lessons of competition and healthful exercise during their college years. Instead the purpose at many institutions has become the grooming of players (most notably in football and basketball) for professional sports careers (or at least for an attempt at a professional sports career).
In conclusion I believe the only way to justifiably begin to pay college athletes is to require the NFL and the NBA to sponsor the “big time” teams and contribute to the programs as they should have been doing all along!  Adding to this logic is the fact that not only are these organizations getting free “farm teams” from the tuition and fee costs of college students they are also registered as “non profits” which gives them a significant tax break on top of it. Allowing college athletes to be paid without the aforementioned changes to the system would just be another scam foisted on the public.
According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2013-2014 school year was $30,094 at private colleges, $8,893 for state residents at public colleges, and $22,203 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.

Many of these school list large financial aid packages but – “Financial aid packages typically consist of several components that make up the entire financial aid award. Often, the financial aid package will include components with obligations, such as repayment, that the student and/or student’s family will need to fulfill. Understanding these individual components will help you understand which financial aid package (if you are comparing multiple options) provides the best benefit for you. The most common types of financial aid are grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study. Certain states also offer their own particular financial aid programs.”

 Some “big time” college tuitions – out of state / in state 
(* higher in state tuition than average) p= private

Boston College  $43,878 p
Duke University $43,623 p
University of Notre Dame $42,971 p
Stanford University   $42,225 p
University of Miami        $41,220 p
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor $40,392/ $12,994 *
St. John's University - New York $36,450 p
UCLA     $35,570/ $12,692 *
Syracuse University        $36,300 p
Boston College  $43,878 p
Duke University                $43,623 p
Clemson University         $30,004/ $13,076 *
Penn State          $28,746/ $16,444 *
Indiana University - Bloomington              $31,483/ $10,033 *
University of Georgia     $28,052/ $9842 *
UConn - Stamford           $27,190/ $9358 *
University of Iowa           $26,279/ $8057
University of South Carolina $27,644/ $10,488 *

Friday, 4 April 2014

"Educational Experts" are Succeeding Again ! (In Reaping Rewards for Failure)

The State has run Newark, Paterson and Jersey City schools since 1995, 1991 and 1989 respectively.
It's hard to believe, that all the "education experts" in Trenton cannot concoct not even one scheme to miraculously improve these schools after over twenty years of effort!
The lack of success in these districts tells me one of the reasons why the DOE is currently handing out reams of dictates,standards and teacher evaluation criteria to all New Jersey schools. This is designed to draw attention away from the State's failures in these state controlled districts. 
Of course another reason for the constant attack is to exact retribution against teacher's unions for not having supported "The Governor" (as he likes to call himself) and his cohorts.
Additionally, all these demands continually placed on New Jersey schools allows corporations which supply the ingredients for their implementation to extract huge amounts of money from state and local coffers. Also, the constant testing and "reforms" are being used to sully the reputation of public education so as to help bolster public support for eventually driving the entire system into private corporate hands