A cruel afternoon at the Motor Vehicle Commission

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I’ve had root canals. I’ve had gum surgery. But, when I went to get my driver’s license renewed recently, I knew real pain.

I had no choice but to appear in person. The letter I received from the state Motor Vehicle Commission contained a number of “skip the trip” urgings but they were countermanded by a contradictory warning superimposed on the renewal form: If you want your license, you had to do this thing live.
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A different kind of American–a real one–looks at Haiti and sees love

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Megan Coffee

Eight years ago today, an earthquake struck Haiti and killed more than 200,000 people. I was sent there twice by The Star-Ledger to write about what happened. While there, I renewed my acquaintance with Dr. Megan Coffee from Maplewood, who, 12 years earlier, had been named a Star-Ledger Scholar, a program I helped run to recognize the brightest New Jersey high school graduates. Instead of pursuing a career that would make her wealthy, she became a healer in the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere. It seems especially appropriate now, on this anniversary, with this national leadership, with the sickening language we’ve heard and read in the last 24 hours, to recall there are Americans who look at Haiti and see love. Here is an article I wrote about Dr. Coffee for The Star-Ledger in the summer of 2010:
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A year later, RU super computer may be fully on-line. Or, maybe not.

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The overheated Caliburn

Rutgers’ officials now promise that the  $10 million “supercomputer” that was destined to “revolutionize” computing at the state university–and throughout New Jersey– will be available to all users next month, a year after a coolant leak forced it to shut down only weeks after it was inaugurated with considerable public  fanfare.
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THE LONG SLOW GOOD-BYE: Cerf says transition to local control will take 2 years.

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Cerf: Bye-bye –but not for a while yet

Under the Christopher Cerf plan, full autonomy won’t be granted to the elected Newark school board until a two year transition is completed. A transition in which many consultants will get rich and high paid administrators, appointed by Cerf, will continue to earn their six-figure salaries and follow the pro-charter, anti-public, union-shredding school plans for Newark. That will make it official–the state will have controlled the city schools for 25 years–a quarter century.
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Newark’s Cerf expected to quit, may stay on as consultant–Gregory new schools chief

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Newark Superintendent Cerf and Christie

Newark’s state-appointed school superintendent Christopher Cerf,  Gov. Chris Christie’s long-term enforcer of the plan to turn Newark into the “charter school capital of the state,” is expected to resign–perhaps as soon as today–and turn  temporary control of New Jersey’s largest school district over to his hand-picked choice, Robert Gregory, a deputy superintendent.
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FINALLY, REAL GOOD NEWS FOR NEWARK’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS: A RHODES SCHOLAR

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Jordan Thomas, Rhodes Scholar

Jordan Thomas made his way to his parents’ car parked outside Gate 4 of Yankee Stadium in The Bronx Saturday. In a stadium suite, the Rhodes Trust had just completed the final interviews of the students vying for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarships. Jordan carried with him life-changing news–a good sort of life-changing news–that he could barely contain.
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Why the NJEA should thank The Star-Ledger

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Teachers at NJEA convention

Just when the leaders of the state’s  largest teachers’ union desperately needed help, who–of all people–becomes their unwitting savior? None other than the chief editorial writer for The Star-Ledger–a man who has spent a good part of his career bashing the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA).
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Newark schools: The only loyalty should be to children

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Are adults who report safety problems at the Wilson Avenue School “disloyal”? To whom?

Faculty members, staff, and others  associated with Newark’s Wilson Avenue School were called to a meeting Friday and told it was “disloyal” for anyone to raise questions about safety at the Ironbound school, according to sources attending the meeting.
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Newark schools chief to teacher union head: Don’t need you.

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An email exchange between Christopher Cerf, the state-appointed Newark schools chief, and John Abeigon, the president of the Newark Teachers Union. Abeigon’s email is at the bottom–it was sent to city officials, local  school board members, state school board members, the mayor’s office and others. Abeigon offers his congratulations on the return of local control and asks for a role in the transition.
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