Author Archive: princetonblue

Common Core

The annual meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the professional society of K-12 math teachers in our country, is now going on in Boston.  NCTM  President Dianne Briars opened the conference with a talk about Common Core, the need to better educate parents, and to avoid a “sky is falling” mentality when discussing it.

http://www.nctm.org/flipbooks/…

This isn’t a NJ issue, but Common Core was attacked here many times over the past few months.  I wanted to post some evidence that K-12 math teachers are much more accepting and supportive of it than has been portrayed.    

Home Schooling Unregulated

promoted by Rosi

I was really surprised to learn from this NYTimes article that New Jersey is one of only 11 states that have no regulations about home schooling.  

At a minimum, I would think NJ should know about these students and parents should be required to register their children with the local school district.

California’s Pension Change — A Cap on Pensions

Thoughts, Blue Jersey? 12mileseastofTrenton’s already started off a discussion. Promoted by Rosi.

I started this diary to promote discussion about California’s AB340, passed in 2012, that changed California’s pension system.  It didn’t solve the whole problem but achieved important financial savings.

One of the main elements was a cap on the pensionable income.  The cap would be at the same level as Social Security.  So for now, it would be $110,000.  In other words, a worker would only accrue a pension based on their average income unto $110,000.  So in effect, if they earn a 50% pension (based on 25 years service), they would receive $55,000 a year.

Such a cap would preserve current pensions for low and middle-income workers but reduce pensions for upper-class workers, for whom pensions are not as necessary.

I know, I know: there are a lot of $110,000+ workers in NJ who are doing important jobs and $110,000 isn’t much in New Jersey.  But the same can be said of California.  But we have to find savings somewhere.

Should Blue Jersey Ban Right Wing Trolls

Unfortunately,  it’s clear that BJ has some posters who are repeatedly making posts advocating far-right anti-progressive positions.  These posts receive a lot of attention and responses from BJ readers.  But the original posters don’t seem interested in dialogue or discussion, but just posting propaganda in support of their cause.  That their posts often contain misleading facts and uncalled for accusations worsens the situation.

If the progressive cause were doing well, I wouldn’t care.  But we’re not doing well and are being attacked and getting beaten by the Republicans and some DINOs.   We can’t afford to spend precious resources of time responding to these distracting posts.  (And not to respond on our progressive site gives these posts legitimacy).  

Personally, I think these aren’t isolated individuals but they are either volunteers or paid workers on behalf of groups that seek to wound the effectiveness of BJ.  Regardless, I think BJ would benefit by limiting ( whether through a ban or a limit on posts) “distracting” posters.   The progressive community has to be able to focus on building our cause.  If we are continuously putting out the small fires that the non-progressive arsonists keep setting, how will accomplish our goals?

NJ Dems Killing People For Corporate Profits

promoted by Rosi

One of the provisions in the health care bill bans public workers from receiving out-of-state medical care when there is a reasonable provider of the same care in New Jersey.  In principle, such language sounds reasonable, but in real terms, it prevents New Jersey public workers from being able to consult the experts in New York City and Philadelphia when critical medical treatment is needed.  New Jersey has some good hospitals, and Norcross would like them to get more business (hence the clause), but they aren’t often the top hospitals.  

Unfortunately, both my spouse and I have separately had life-threatening medical situations in which the best NJ hospital in the area gave incorrect medical diagnoses.  Fortunately, we could consult with the hospitals in New York City and Philadelphia to get second opinions that proved to be correct.  In my wife’s case, the expert doctors indicated that she may have died if we had followed the advice of the NJ doctors.

I’m just one statistic, but in the debate over reining in health care costs (which I support), what is being lost is that some basic human rights are being lost.  I can’t help believing that with the current legislation, that Governor Christie, Senator Sweeney and Speaker Oliver would have killed my wife.   I expect that of Christie, but I never thought in this battle over costs that the New Jersey Democrats would have curtailed a basic human right for people to find appropriate health care.

Time is running out, but I would ask any NJ legislators reading this blog to fight to eliminate this truly horrible policy (found in section 76 of Sweeney’s bill).  

What’s the Problem with Having a Job and a Pension?

When did it become a problem having a pension and a job at the same time?  There are lots of people in the private sector who retire from one job, get their pension, and then start working another job.  Does anyone complain that this is wrong? No. Most members of the armed forces and countless other positions are in a similar situation and there is nothing wrong with it.  It is not wrong to work one job, retire, collect that pension, and then start another job.  From what I understand, that is what Sen. Weinberg did.  There is nothing wrong with that.

What is wrong is when you “retire” from a job, start your pension, and then restart working the same job with the same perks and responsibilities.  That is what Joe D. is doing.

What is also wrong is to work 2-4 full/part time local/county/state jobs that reasonable require more than 24 hours in a day to do responsibly.  That is where the double-dipping controversy rightly started.  The argument has now gotten away from its legitimate start and become a “bat” that Governor’s can use on whomever they don’t like.

OLS Study shows Opportunity Grants Would Devastate Public Schools

Read the OLS report.   It says that over 5 years, the public schools would lose $840 million in direct state aid because of the students transferring to private/charter schools.  There is no plan as to how the public schools will be able to save that money.  

The reality is that the public schools will have to slash spending and for the children who are unable to transfer, the education system will be getting a lot worse.

Shame on the numerous Democratic legislators who don’t seem to care about the majority of inner-city kids who will be left behind as a result.  

Christie Lies On Transportation Fund

I hope this story gets a lot more coverage.  Yesterday, Christie introduced his “plan” for the Transportation Trust Fund.  What it consists of is exactly the type of gimmicks that got NJ into its current fiscal condition.  The Governor would borrow an additional $4 billion dollars (adding to the state’s debt), seek to divert money from the Port Authority (which would cause the tolls to increase, in effect raising taxes), and to divert $600 million dollars from the state’s general fund.

This is not a plan.  This is business as usual and exactly the type of gimmicky that Christie said he would eliminate.  Raising gasoline taxes and coming up with a real plan is hard, but that’s why Christie was elected  Remember all those words about shared sacrifice?  Christie is increasing the fiscal pain on future NJ citizens for short-term political gain.  It’s the Whitman plan all over again. Let’s call out Christie for what he is doing here.  He’s lying about doing anything differently than past governors.  

Did Christie play the Dem. Legislature on the Tunnel

I’m just an outsider looking in, but when I heard about the shutdown of transportation projects last weekend and that the Christie administration was possibly looking to divert tunnel funds to pay for those projects, I started thinking that shutting down the tunnel was a real possibility.

On Monday, I was shocked that NJ legislators gave Christie what he wanted without getting a firm guarantee on the tunnel.   The assurances they got were only promises that nothing had been decided, yet!

Three days later the tunnel was canceled.  At what point will NJ Dems learn that they can’t trust a word out of the Governor’s mouth.  Why won’t the Democrats play hardball with a Governor who is wiping the floor with them?