I wrote this article for The Star-Ledger nearly a decade ago but the newspaper’s editors refused to print it because I went to Haiti on my own vacation time. I did that because I disagreed with the editors’ judgment that what was happening in Haiti at the time was unworthy of the newspaper’s attention. A modified version appeared in the now defunct New York Sun. This article is dedicated to Maplewood’s Megan Coffee, a Star-Ledger Scholar–her twitter is #@doktecoffee— who, for no pay, has been operating a tuberculosis clinic in Port-au-Prince for more than three years. Her clinic needs your support. Please help her.
New Jersey has an education commissioner– entranced by ideologues and foundation executives who have boosted his career–who cannot distinguish public education from a profit-making enterprise and ignores the wishes of community residents, parents, and school employees.
Gov. Chris Christie’s pick of an inexperienced 32-year-old Wall Streeter for Camden schools superintendent is not just a dumb move. Dumb moves are a Christie specialty and he is rewarded for them. The selection is contemptuous mockery of two groups–all professional educators who actually believe experience counts for something and the citizens of Camden who clearly have no say in how their schools are run.
The main building of Essex County College in Newark will be named for its former long-time president, A. Zachary Yamba.
How can education be the great equalizer when students can’t afford it? Or, to put it in the president’s words—to the nation’s governors: “We can’t allow higher education to be a luxury in this country.”
During the governorship of Chris Christie, the political landscape in New Jersey has become a distorted world of illusions where incivility and bad behavior are considered acceptable and truth is what the Big Man in the Statehouse says it is, no matter the evidence to the contrary. The latest case study is Christie’s decision to remove Helen Hoens from the once venerable New Jersey Supreme Court.
If Cory Booker wins the primary for Senate next week and the special, general election in October, some credible New Jersey Democrat must be prepared to challenge him in next year’s primary.
Let’s remember a few things: This special, mid-summer election for the US Senate was scheduled by Gov. Chris Christie for his own political reasons and, I believe, to enhance the chances of the only Democratic candidate who has supported some of Christie’s most conservative positions on education and public employee unions—Cory Booker.
On the stage, in places of honor, sat eight old men. In the audience they faced sat hundreds of young men, teenagers mostly. Between them, on the stairs leading from the children to the elders, stood the priest. The moderator. The guide from each group to the other. The bridge. The name of the priest was Fr. Edwin Leahy. Father Ed. The place was St. Benedict’s Prep, Newark.