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Category: Education

Christie Vetoes School Board Bracketing Bill

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) visits a Camden, NJ classroom in January 2014.

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) visits a Camden, NJ classroom in January 2014.

Governor Chris Christie is sending S-387/A-1363 back to the state legislature. Had he signed the bill, it would have permitted two or more school board candidates to circulate join petition and bracket together.

Advocates say the legislation would bring much-needed voter attention to these important but oft-overlooked local contests.


The Ongoing Fight Against Common Core in New Jersey

By Alyssa Lafage | The Save Jersey Blog

apple coreIn 2010, New Jersey joined 44 states and the District of Columbia in adopting Common Core. The previously untested educational standards were sold to state Governors by the Obama administration as a way to improve education across the country. According to the Department of Education, the standards for math and language arts are meant to, “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.” 

Yet an increasing number of parents and educators are finding fault with Common Core, and for good reason.

Common Core is one of the most far-reaching attempts to control education that the federal government has ever made. It entrusts federal bureaucrats and private organizations with the power to make decisions on what children should learn and when they should learn it. 


Valerie Strauss: Consistent Education Elitist

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

obama toast“New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is consistent — at least when it comes to espousing total  indifference to what Newark residents want for their state-operated public school system.”

That’s how The Washington Post‘s Valerie Strauss began her latest snarky education post, Save Jerseyans, published on Friday; for those who don’t follow WashPo, Strauss is an Obama liberal archetype who railed against Mitt Romney’s educational reform proposals in 2012 but, like the President, sends her own children to private school.

Remember: there’s always one set of rules for them and another for the unwashed masses for whom they attempt to control every consequential life decision…


Christie Will Review PARCC Tests

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

christie smiling town hallAs promised, Governor Chris Christie is addressing controversial Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers (PARCC) testing, Save Jerseyans; the bad news is that he’s doing it to “ensure the effectiveness of the Core Curriculum Content Standards, including the Common Core State Standards.”

“This Administration is committed to the educational success of every child, no matter the zip code,” said Governor Christie in a Monday evening statement. “Since 2010 we’ve enacted a series of measures that implement rigorous standards, develop excellent educators, and use high quality student assessments to gauge the progress of student learning and the effectiveness of classroom instruction. Establishing this commission is just another step in ensuring we’re providing the best quality education possible to our students .”

You can read Governor Christie’s executive order here.

Don’t expect a solution any time in the near future. The 9-member commission will present a report to the Governor no later than December 31, 2014; a final report will be made public no later than July 31, 2015.


Guv Promises New PARCC Approach

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

testingBoth sides of the aisle have big problems with Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing, Save Jerseyans, so during an under-reported exchange at last week’s town hall meeting in Haddon Heights, Governor Chris Christie told a teacher participant that he’d pitch a fresh proposal to address those concerns in 7-10 days.

The stakes are growing as the landscape darkens. New Jersey is facing extreme fiscal pressure as another budget fails to meet basic obligations without borrowing, and the Republican 2016 prospect is hoping to roll out a new pension and benefits reform package soon, too, all while presidential speculation and Bridgegate rumors keep Trenton on edge and his Administration off-balance.


Assembly Puts Brakes On Common Core

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

brakesIf I told you that the Democrat-dominated New Jersey Assembly voted 72-4 this week to slow down the pace of Common Core State Standards implementation, Save Jerseyans, you’d probably feel the urge to get your eyes checked. But that’s exactly what happened on Monday. Go figure….

The legislative effort spearheaded by Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex) won a dozen primary sponsors and overwhelming bipartisan support; if it becomes law, the bill would establish a task force to review (not scrap) state participation in the controversial new Common Core standards and the equally controversial the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing.


Post-CA Tenure Decision, Kyrillos Seeks Repeat in New Jersey

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Joe Kyrillos at 2012 RNC in Tampa, Florida

Joe Kyrillos at 2012 RNC in Tampa, Florida

Following an earth-shattering decision by the California state court striking down that state’s tenure law, state Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) says he’s reaching out to an advocacy group involved in the West Coast case to help accomplish the same result in New Jersey.

He’ll start by re-introducing S-2171, “The School Children First Act.”


Booker: Failing Even After He’s Gone

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Facebook Newark SchoolsIf you thought a serious spike in violent crime, rampant government corruption and chronic absenteeism (which didn’t help situations #1 and #2) were the only hallmarks of the Cory Booker (D-Twitter) era in Newark, Save Jerseyans, then you’re missing a big part of the story.

There’s a reason why Newarkers went to the polls yesterday and voted for a far-left radical like Ras Baraka.

Remember the Mark Zuckerberg Facebook grant? The one that was supposed to save the Brick City’s school? The New Yorker reported on Tuesday that, during the last three full years of Mayor Twitter’s tenure at the helm of New Jersey’s largest city, “more than twenty million dollars of Zuckerberg’s gift and matching donations went to consulting firms with various specialties: public relations, human resources, communications, data analysis, [and] teacher evaluation.” 

I’d laugh, Save Jerseyans, but one again, the joke that is Cory Booker is at our children’s expense. There’s nothing funny about an unnecessary, expensive, grossly inequitable failure that could’ve been avoided with a little less time on Twitter and a lot more time leading. 


Sweeney’s Silly Self-Interested Sprinkler Idea

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog


I always marvel at how liberals proceed with almost zero regard for reality in almost EVERYTHING they do in the public arena. All emotion, no logic. It’s most evident in the Second Amendment context where they endeavor to stop extremely rare mass shootings with gun control measures that make them more likely.

Another area where we see it in action? Sprinklers. Yes, sprinklers.

Trenton Democrats have already pushed for an expensive residential sprinkler mandate. Now Senate President Steve Sweeney is announced that he wants the same thing for schools. The problem? This latest attempt to spend money that we don’t have seeks to address yet another problem (school fires) that’s no more common than mass shootings. Consider how between 2003 and 2005 there were, on average, ZERO annual fire deaths at U.S. schools and only 13 injuries. More people are killed by lightning strikes annually…

So what’s next? Raising taxes, and spending millions of dollars that we don’t have, to build fences around schools to keep out heffalumps and woozles? Give me a freakin’ break…

But Steve Sweeney is a big wig in an ironworkers’ union, not a heffalump and woozle union, so he’ll stick to self-interested legislation for the time being. Just no less logical (or affordable) for rest of us! I’m reminded of the “higher education” ballot question from 2012 that was tantamount to a stimulus from the trade unions.

Do you see how big government works, folks? And whom it serves? Hint: not you. Nothing but pure silliness and self-interest, 24/7, performed at the prevailing wage.


Proof: Bullying Bans Make it Worse

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

bullyingWe’re failing these kids, Save Jerseyans. Big time. Rather than enact reforms which could actually, in some small way, act as a curb against a rapidly-decaying culture that’s producing kids ill-equipped to deal with the struggles and pressures of the world, we’re wasting millions on programs that aren’t working. At best.

In one southern state, teen suicides are actually on the rise in the wake of so-called anti-bullying measures taking effect:

“In Mississippi, 635 youth ages 10-24 have committed suicide since 2000 — an average of 49 deaths per year — according to data from the state Department of Health Vital Statistics program.


UPDATE: NJEA Welcomes Hespe

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

school busesLearning from past mistakes? Or do they know something that we don’t?

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:


Christie Taps Hespe to Replace Cerf

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

David Hespe

David Hespe

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?


Ledger Ed Board Goes Overboard

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

insane asylum

PHOTO: Star-Ledger Editorial Board Meeting (February 2014)

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?


It’s Not Wall Street’s Fault That You Wasted Your Time In College

By Jordan Rickards

The Rutgers-Camden Campus in Camden, New Jersey.

The Rutgers-Camden Campus in Camden, New Jersey.

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.”

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.

Continue reading at

Cerf Recedes

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Chris Cerf

Chris Cerf

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.


Dining Alone in Camden

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Christie at Camden school

Gov. Christie visits Thomas H. Dudley Elementary School in Camden, NJ (1/24/14)

With subpoenas piling up and his back pressed against the wall, Save Jerseyans, many of us in the veteran Chris Christie extended supporter circle were hoping for a return to the Christie of 2009 after Tuesday’s muted, snow-battered inauguration.

This snipped from his solid inaugural address provided some reason for hope…


Longer Days Can Help Our Kids Go Far

OPINION: A Perspective On Longer School Days from a Long-Time Student

By Michael Ritchie | The Save Jersey Blog

christie with kidsI’ve thought for many years that our students spend too much time away from the classroom, Save Jerseyans. 

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.