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An Open Letter to Star-Ledger Editorial Board Director Tom Moran

02 Sep

The parents of Newark are boycotting Superintendent Cami Anderson’s disastrous One Newark plan. Tom Moran, the editorial director of NJ’s largest Newspaper, The Star Ledger, has backed her 100% despite our best efforts to educate him in numerous blog posts and Twitter arguments.
This man is a disgrace to journalism, and has actually done more to promulgate the myth of reform than Christie because he writes a column every day.

teacherbiz

Dear Tom,

This week, you crossed a line.

Until now, your pieces in the Star-Ledger about Newark’s school system and the reorganization of the district have been ill-informed and reckless. You’ve ignored the warnings of teachers, parents, community leaders, researchers, and students, preferring instead to cling to recycled talking points crafted by those with scant little experience in education policy, but much to gain in profits.

You’ve paid a price: like your ridiculous attempt to walk back from your disastrous endorsement of Chris Christie, your continuing effort to support State Superintendent Cami Anderson while distancing yourself from the consequences of her catastrophic leadership has shredded any integrity you had left as a journalist. Any standing your newspaper had left as a champion of the people of Newark has also eroded: as with Anderson, no one in the city trusts you or the Star-Ledger’s editorial page anymore.

“Shame on…

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4 Comments

Posted by on September 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

4 responses to “An Open Letter to Star-Ledger Editorial Board Director Tom Moran

  1. booklady

    September 2, 2014 at 23:49

    Lloyd, Thank you for posting this to inform folks what our Newark families face. I think of Central HS/Little Rock, Boston school busing and wonder what the legacy of the ill-conceived One Newark plan will be. Also wonder who will be brave enough to assume Superintendent position when Cami Anderson finally leaves.

     
    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      September 3, 2014 at 08:10

      You’re welcome, and what is happening in Newark, this too shall pass. Let me explain.

      When the United States was born, there was slavery in some of the states. That slavery for millions ended in 1865 when the Civil War ended.

      Women started to struggle for equality in the early 19th century (1848-1920), and it took them almost a century of struggle to gain the right to be an individual, who could own property and work a job—almost any job. For most of that struggle, they were considered the property of men.

      Children were considered the property of their parents (mostly the father), and could be sold into servitude in factories, coal mines, even prostitution as young as seven. I’ve read that at one point, about half of the workers in factories were between the ages five to twelve, because they cost less and were easier to manage. That ended in 1938 with the Fair Labor Standards Act which set federal standards for child labor. Yet, the struggle to free children started in 1832 when New England unions condemned child labor.

      There are other examples of acts of insanity in the U.S.: For instance, the Jim Crow Laws (1877-1854); the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882 – 1943); Prohibition (1920-19333); Japanese-American Internment (1942-1946); McCarthyism (1950-1956)—what’s been happening to public school teachers and the public schools is another example.

      I’m almost 70. I was born into poverty and my parents—both high school drop outs—worked their way out of poverty in jobs that did not require a high school or college degree—26 percent of jobs in the United States don’t require a HS degree. Another 40 percent only require a HS degree. That’s 66 percent of the jobs. Another 8 percent only require an AS degree or a certificate form a community college or trade school. That means 74 percent of the jobs in the United States do not require a BA, a masters or a PhD. [There are a few fools who predict that in a decade or so, 80 percent of jobs in the US will require a four year college degree or better. The only way this will come true is if most of the jobs that don’t require a college degree are replaced with automation—robots. Robot waiters, robot bartenders, robot maids, robot gardeners, robot mechanics fixing cars, robot plumbers, robot electricians, robot carpenters building houses, etc.—it’s already happening.]

      Proof that this too shall pass, because by the time I was 12, the poverty ended for my father, mother and me thanks to my godfather helping my father get a union job in construction. My dad spent about thirty years operating heavy equipment and earning a livable wage.

      Before I barely [emphasis on barely] graduated from high school, I joined the U.S. Marines and went to boot camp after graduation. The Vietnam War started while I was in boot camp and my first duty station out of boot camp was combat in Vietnam. I came back from Vietnam with a heavy dose of PTSD, drank too much, had anger issues and was slowly committing suicide through bad lifestyle choices.

      That also did pass—In 1982, I stopped drinking and changed my lifestyle to a healthy one. Today, I manage that PTSD. The dark days of PTSD managing me for 16 years ended in 1982.

      Starting in 1975, I taught in the public schools. About seven years in, my first principal, Ralph Pagan, had a heart attack, and due to his health, he retired early. He was, by far, the best principal I worked with for the thirty years I was a teacher, and it wasn’t until after he retired early and a new principal showed up to replace him that I discovered the nightmare that far too many teachers face every day. During the next thirty years, I worked with seven or eight principals. Three of them were decent, honest administrators who did the best they could to support us—but never lasted long because the superintendents and the assistant superintendent in charge of the secondary schools were idiots. They were Machiavellian monsters who talked in soft, understanding voices while they stabbed the teachers in the back repeatedly—very similar to the fake education reformers from corporate American who manufactured the crises in public education—who either blamed teachers for everything and treated us like we were the problem and not the poverty and street gangs that plagued the community around the schools where I taught.

      In every example I used here, it took American people to join together and protest and not to give up to end these wrongs that usually were caused by a small number of powerful/wealthy individuals like Bill Gates, the Koch brothers, the Walton family, etc.

      If we give up, these few ignorant and biased fools will win and their victory will last much longer than their short, mortal life on this earth before people who are suffering from what they caused rise up and end it one way or another.

       
      • booklady

        September 9, 2014 at 21:31

        Lloyd,
        1. See Bob Braun’s Ledger for his 9-4 Illusionist and 9-9 post re Newark Students Union protest re One Newark. Bob Braun’s Ledger Facebook page has terrific photo of Abe Lincoln statue overlooking student protesters. Admire those students–and Hawaii BadAss Teachers sent them a care package!
        2. I deeply appreciate the time you took to compose your reply on 9-3 and am reflecting on it (I was an American Civ major so hope for better, sooner).
        3. Read A Min’s Red Azalea last fall–it was so moving. Another of the instances when I wonder by what fortune I was born in the US; as when I watched newscasts of Kosovo refugees in the 90s. How remarkable that she and you met.
        4. Did you know Raleigh Philp, inspiring science dept chair Rowland HS? I visited district in 80s when they field-tested biology textbook for HBJ. Any district savvy enuf to hire you & him knew what was good for kids.
        5. As a former Lang Arts teacher, I respect the value of quality writing models for learners and know that your modeling must have been powerful for students. How terrific that your journalism students won awards–are you still sharing writing w district teachers & programs/student newspaper?

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        September 10, 2014 at 08:23

        Thank you for your comments. I didn’t know Raleigh Philp. I may have seen him on the picket lines when we were protesting counter offers that were usually horrible during contract negotiations. During my time in Rowland, district administration was often contentious and didn’t work well with teachers even though they used language in their press releases and in staff meetings that made it sound like they did.

        Let me say that I think if some of these district administrators were parents, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that some of their children grew up to be serial killers or concentration camp commanders.

        I knew teachers who worked in other districts and none of them had the tyrannical, dictatorial district administration we had in Rowland at the time [give me time and I could think up a long list of adjectives to describe the district administration that would be more accurate in detail—let it suffice to say that they would fit in well with today’s corporate driven, manufactured, fake-education reform movement crowd). For instance, a teacher who started teaching at Nogales High School in 1989, the year I transferred to the HS from one of the three intermediate schools, that I’m still friends with, left the district after a few years for that reason and up until recently he was happy with the administration in the district he moved to. But now, thanks to G.W. Bush’s absurd NCLB and Obama’s Race to the Top in addition to the Machiavellian Common Core State Standards and student testing mania to rank and yank teachers thanks to Bill Gates, he says the new management in his district is probably as bad as the one he left in behind Rowland back in the 1990s. He wasn’t the only talented, hard working new teacher who left Rowland due to the district administration and their petty bully politics at the time.

        I don’t think we can give the district credit for hiring teachers of any quality. In fact, I think, that if a district office administrator during my time or the school board was involved in the selection process, I’d expect they would probably hire friends and colleagues and ignore quality and ability. From my experience, the more distant someone is from the classroom and/or a school site, the more out of touch they are with what teachers and students really need.

        I was hired by Ralph Pagan in the late 1970s, the principal of Giano Intermediate at the time. Ralph was a Korean War veteran and he accepted the job to turn that school around with an agreement that he would be allowed to hire and transfer teachers out of an at-risk school that had one of the worst reputations in the San Gabriel Valley at the time. From what I heard from the veteran teachers Ralph kept after the transfers and the new hires came in, the school was a war zone where the local street gangs all but destroyed the learning environment. I heard stories of teachers lining their kids up outside classrooms and frisking them for knives, broken glass and razor blades. One teacher frisked while another followed behind with a bucket to dump the weapons in. After the pat down, the kids were allowed into the classrooms.

        It wasn’t until after we lost Ralph and he was forced to retire early because of a stroke that I discovered what a great principal he had been. He organized the teachers into teams who ran the school. He supported teachers in ways that I never saw another principal do. He also turned Giano around into a model where academics and learning ruled instead of street gangs, and that happened because of the teacher centered management style that he believed in where teachers were involved in almost all decision making at the school site.

         

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