On December 5th, a guest blog, “Tuition Equity: Keeping Promises and Doing the Right Thing,” made the case that all state residents should be treated equally with respect to tuition and fees at public colleges and universities in New Jersey. (Practices vary but, with few exceptions, so-called undocumented students, although they are residents of the state, have been paying “out of state” tuition rates if their parents entered the country illegally and they came with them). The blog challenged the governor to do as he promised to do in the run-up to the election in November as, in the post-election euphoria, he appeared to be backing away from the commitment he had made.
Residents of Newark’s South Ward yesterday launched a city-wide petition drive to ask the Legislature to block a state-imposed reorganization they say would “hurt children and destroy communities.”
A top official of the New Jersey Department of Education—writing in a long Facebook exchange with a member of the Newark school board and two city teachers– conceded Newark charter schools might be too selective and made some other controversial statements without revealing who she was. But Paula White, the “chief turnaround officer” for the education department, deleted her comments and her picture from the exchange before anyone recorded them. Still, they might be retrievable through the Open Public Records Act.
Once again, The Star-Ledger has the audacity to tell the people of Newark how they should lead their lives while remaining silent about how the rest of the state lives has helped create the problems in Newark. Another typical example of “us” vs. “them” in what should be a unified discourse.
Not all murders are equal. Or is it that not all murder victims are equal?
Three men were shot and killed in Essex County over the weekend. Two in Newark. One in Millburn, at the Short Hills Mall.
The Sandy Hook School sits on a rise overlooking a small village. Riverside Drive runs up from the village. Then Dickinson Drive turns right from Riverside and leads up into a leafy clearing where the school stands, or did on Dec. 14, 2012. The day the children died. The day forgotten, except on anniversaries. The day nothing much changed for anyone except the families of the dead.
The agony has begun. Or, really, just continues. Newark teachers and parents are about to find out how many more public schools will be closed or turned over to Chris Christie’s friends in the privatization movement. They’re about to find out how many jobs will be lost. According to a document circulated by the Newark Teachers Union, some 22 schools will be affected.
Massacres of children are good for business. That was the number one lesson I learned from my weekend in Newtown, CT., a year ago. While much of rational—or, at least, polite—America made a show of grieving over the deaths of 20 little children in Newtown, CT., a few miles north up at the K-5 Gun Exchange in Hamden, owner Frank Guerra was literally selling a gun a minute in a store crowded with eager gun-buyers.
The Newtown massacre was the last major story I covered for The Star-Ledger. I interrupted my vacation to drive there that Friday, chosen because I had experience with death. The Unabomber. Columbine. The World Trade Center. Airplane crashes. The Beltway snipers. Nickel Mines. Haiti. Now this. Young children, barely older than my grandson, slaughtered in a Connecticut classroom along with teachers who tried to save them. The specter of the quick but bloody butchery of horrifyingly frightened little boys and girls generated, not universal revulsion for the easy ownership of guns, but just another voyeuristic and ephemeral media moment.