One important proposal is that all kids have some proficiency with a second language upon graduation. (Isn't it about time ?!) Another new issue will be the future of GEDs. No longer will they be accepted as equivalent to a HS diploma.
I have worked in committee with one of the senior authors of the math proposals, and briefly audited a course given by the other some 15 years ago at Rutgers. I mention this out of respect for their contribution, certainly rare among academics these days.
Note that these are recommendations and not law. As struc- tured, NJ has almost 600 (!) school districts with 600*9 opinions on how to do just about everything, from graphing a straight line, to which kind of batteries to use for a calcu- lator. While there are many critics of the NCTM material, just imagine for a moment all the conflicting opinions within NJ. Each school Board has the final authority on curriculum policy. So "Mathematically Correct 2+2=4" take at ticket and wait in line !
Sunday I celebrated two weeks of door-to-door campaigning. I've become comfortable with doing this immediately after work for about 35-40 mins. in a predesignated section of town. I have mapped out the streets into groups of four. I can't go to everyone's home, so I've begun skipping some. Others "feel" empty, so I either skip those or slip the rolled-up flyer by the door knob. Mailboxes, I've been advised, are for the proprietary use of the USPS. So don't slip up as I have on occasion. No need getting hit with a fine from an Election Commission, especially one filed by an opposition supporter.
By my count, I will have covered 1/5 of the town by the end this week. My target is 1/2 by the end of March.
Yesterday I distributed flyers among 75 teachers exiting en- mass from the Board of Ed meeting. There was tension as their contract has not been settled. It's been 7 months since they began negotiations. Most are friendly, aware of my public call in support of a settlement. One of my running mates has gone out of his way to avoid the issue. Three years ago, the incumbent called for laying off teachers and only hiring them back to work on a need-to-basis. Moreover, he called for jailing of the local teacher's union leadership. I doubt he has changed opinion in three years.
This Sunday will be the end of the 3rd week going door-to- door. In some neighborhoods I've covered met everyone (who was home). In others, maybe 20%. I'm slowly working out a style for doing this as well as a strategy. Basically, I've divided up the town into 50 regions of about 3-4 streets, each requiring about 1-2 days to complete. Either way, It's very subjective. The fact remains, that if I want to cover the town, I must cover six block/day, which is physically impossible as I work.
* * * March 1 * * *
The final results are in. Only four of the eight people who circulated petitions for Board election turned them in ! So now it's two other friends of education, one anti-tax incum- bent, and, of course, myself. At work, people are quick to point out that I could win by chance alone - 75% . However, we're up against a block of opposition with one "great white hope". So this may still be tricky.
After meeting with my "running mates" - we informally agreed to run more or less together this past weekend, the new concern will include support for the budget, a perennial stick in the ground.
Ours will be a coalition or sort; a real unity of opposites. We appear to have differing ideas on almost everything except unseating the incumbent and the need for supporting some form of quality education.
Two more of my letters have appeared in the local press. A few people have remarked that they were glad to meet me, to "...match the name with the face". So writing intelligent issue oriented letters helps. The weather has been very hard on me all week. So I'm slowing down a bit.
Good news for our teachers. A tentative agreement has been reached. ============================================ The writer is a candidate for Board of Education of Metuchen, a community of approximately 14,000 in New Jersey. Aside for concerns about effective and accountable district management, an affordable budget, and increased communication with the community, I'm calling for strong upgrading of mathematics and science education K-12.
By sharing these thought with you, I'm inviting all to consider to do as I have. Public education needs the input of scientists, math and science teachers, not simply businessmen and politicians. Please consider running for Board of Education in your hometown.
I have chosen to go door-to-door with an issue oriented leaflet in hope of reaching the electorate.
This is an experiment to see if we have the power to change things, and not simply interpret them.