The reliably bellicose New Jersey (Mis)education Association (a/k/a the NJEA) greeted Governor Christie’s nomination of David Hespe for the position of Education Commissioner this afternoon in the warmest possible terms:
Governor Chris Christie is calling upon David Hespe to stand as his nominee for New Jersey Education Commissioner, Save Jerseyans, a veteran educator who will the fill the vacancy created by Chris Cerf if he is approved by the State Senate.
Hespe’s resume includes a stint as the Education Commissioner during Governor Christine Todd Whitman’s Administration, Chief of Staff at the Department of Education during Christie’s first term, and President of Burlington County College.
Will any of it be enough to avoid a contentious confirmation hearing from an emboldened legislative Democratic majority?
There was a time and place where the worst you could say about the Star-Ledger editorial board was that it had a hopelessly liberal bent. Sure it was annoying. Still, there’s nothing particularly unique about that, right?
Most birdcage liner is made equal.
Then Chris Christie got under Editorial Chieftain Tom Moran’s exceptionally-thin skin. Then it got personal, Sonny. Not business anymore.
These days, the Ledger opinion-slinging page can’t even compliment the Governor without reversing itself for self-serving reasons or assigning original credit to a friendly ideological entity or individual for the the good idea.
Did you read Thursday’s editorial? Neither did we. But a reader pointed how how Moran & Co, in toasting the departing acting Department of Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf, commended the Christie appointee for “following a blueprint that closely matches the reforms pushed by President Obama.”
Excuse me? Come again, Mr. Moran?
I heard someone once observe that a “philosophy major is someone who spends a lot of time thinking, while he waits in line at the unemployment office.” It sounds a bit harsh, but it came to mind when I recently came across a picture that a young adult took of himself holding a sloppily written sign which read:
“I have a Master of Arts degree in women’s studies. However, the only job I can find is as a bartender at a local restaurant. I owe over $60k in student loans. I am forced to rely on food stamps and W.I.C. to support my son. Is this the American Dream I worked so hard for? I am the 99 percent. Occupywallst.org.”
For those unfamiliar, “women’s studies” is basically history and sociology taught through a liberal feminist perspective, the basic thesis of which is that all the problems in the world, past, present, and future, are the fault of men. One can expect a graduate of women’s studies to be well-versed in such arcane concepts as “standpoint theory, intersectionality, multiculturalism, transnational feminism, autoethnography,” and will have done no shortage of reading “associated with critical theory, post-structuralism, and queer theory. The field researches and critiques societal norms of gender, race, class, sexuality, and other social inequalities.”
And what exactly that qualifies someone to do with his life, I have no idea. Like many academic pursuits, it is an entirely self-contained discipline with no practical application outside of the reality vacuum known as academia, which means the degree qualifies you to do little else other than write books on the topic, or tend bar.
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We found out today that Chris Cerf, New Jersey’s not-so-acting Commissioner of Education is leaving his post, Save Jerseyans, to take a job with Amplify Insight, an education technology firm.
He leaves behind a controversial legacy.
Cerf was often treated as a liberal boogeyman due, in large part, to his charter school connections prior to serving as acting Commissioner of Education. Cerf came under fire from conservatives later on his tenure for backing the implementation of Common Core in New Jersey.
OPINION: A Perspective On Longer School Days from a Long-Time Student
I should disclaim at this point that I am not a professional educator, but I am for lack a better term, a “long-time professional student.” After more than 12+ years of formal higher education, one thing has become increasingly clear from my experiences: students that were brought up in the American education system largely struggle in the classroom compared to that of some of our emigrated colleagues.
Longer school days would mean less family time, Save Jerseyans, extended homework hours, the rescheduling of jobs, babysitters, extracurricular activities and day care.
A longer school day would also require more funding to cover higher teacher salaries, supplemental textbooks, resources and the cost of additional specialized educators.
Updated 11:44 a.m.
The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) is open to hearing more about Governor Christie’s longer school year/day plan, Save Jerseyans, or so NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer claims in a Tuesday morning release:
“I welcome the opportunity to sit down with Gov. Christie and the Department of Education to discuss the benefits and challenges of implementing an extended school day and school year. That discussion must include educators and parents as well, to ensure that all concerns are taken into account and it should be based on research and evidence.”
I’ve made a New Year’s resolution to talk more about Common Core here at Save Jersey. New Jersey is implementing Common Core’s so-called state “standards” and you’ve asked for commentary on the topic so I’m prepared to give it to you, Save Jerseyans.
Don’t say thank you; I’m always here for you, aren’t I?
To get things rolling, here’s a humorous little skit which does a pretty awesome job of illustrating why Common Core standards don’t prepare kids for the real world. Or any other planet:
“You wouldn’t be here if not for progressive policy.”
– Unknown NJ mass transit commuter
At some point in November 2013, Save Jerseyans, I was handing out cards advocating against a NJ ballot initiative calling for a minimum wage amendment to the NJ State constitution that would require yearly minimum wage increases pegged to inflation.
It was part of an initiative by The Coalition to Preserve Jobs and Our Constitution to distribute literature about the job killing effects of the proposal at over 10 major commuter train stations across NJ.
The Importance of Building a Bridge Between New Jersey Businesses and Education
The quality of entry-level employees entering the workforce continues to be a challenge for employers in New Jersey, Save Jerseyans. While the state has one of the top education systems in the nation, students frequently lack essential math and verbal skills, which are necessary for future employment.
Education is a multi-billion-dollar undertaking in New Jersey. According to Census Data, on average, it costs $18,083 to educate a public school student, compared to the national average of $12,411. And in Fiscal Year 2011- 2012, the state received a total of $25.3 billion in revenues, 58% coming from local taxes.
Senators Anthony Bucco and Steven Oroho are sponsoring S3043 (click here to read the text), legislation that, according to a Senate release announcing its successful passage through the Democrat-controlled Senate Education Committee, would compel New Jersey’s school districts “to allow qualified charter, vocational and home-schooled students the chance to participate in district sports programs” without further qualification.
A Partial Solution to the Problem of Student Loan Debt
The year was 1973 and I was in the 8th grade. The physical education teacher at our school thought it would be a good idea to see how many students could qualify for the President’s Physical Fitness Award.
For whatever reason, one of the requirements was to walk half a mile. Two trips around the track, I thought. Piece of cake.
Except that these weren’t to be solo laps. On the contrary, they were to be completed with one student carrying another student on his or her back.
“Houston, we have a problem.”