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Re: Former JC Mayor Bret Schundler to be state's education commissioner.
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Schundler?s the one

1/24/10
by Al Sullivan
Hudson Reporter

Gov. Christopher Christie has nominated former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler for commissioner of the state Department of Education.

Despite the outcry of public school teachers? unions and others, the Schundler appointment makes perfect sense.

Schundler is one of the innovators of a national movement that would allow parents to use vouchers to send their kids to private schools rather than public schools. He is also a supporter of charter schools, which are public schools started by private citizens, usually educators and parents.

The unions? fear is that if parents have the option of moving their kids to non-public schools through vouchers, then public schools will be left with the most problematic students. School funding, grants, scholarships and other opportunities will also drain away, creating a new inequity among wealthy and poor students in the state.

On the other hand, parents who wish to send their children to private schools are forced to pay twice, once in taxes to support public schools, a second time for the rising tuitions of religious schools.

More a decade ago, Schundler began to espouse a voucher program, perhaps halting the epidemic of closing non-public schools throughout the state.

Schundler comes in an ultra conservative package that makes many people uncomfortable, having already run for governor twice on a platform that included social and economic conservative notions. He even made several appearances in Hudson County in the past with noted conservative preacher Pat Robertson.

In selecting Schundler, Christie is sending a message to the powerful public school lobbies that this new administration intends to drastically change the educational landscape ? if, of course, Schundler?s appointment is approved by the Democratic-controlled state Senate.

A hard choice

Secaucus Mayor Mike Gonnelli must know how President Barack Obama feels. Both men come into office facing critical decisions that will affect the future of their constituencies.

No decision is more critical to Gonnelli administration than whether or not to push to have three volunteer firefighters restored to duty. Accused of harassing two gay men back in 2004, the three firefighters quit their volunteer fire posts rather than speak about the events that took place during what the victims called an anti-gay rampage.

Secaucus taxpayers were forced to pay a multimillion dollar settlement after the gay men sued, saying the firefighters harassed them while they were living next door to the North End firehouse. The firefighters refused to testify in an administrative hearing. While pleading the 5th against self-incrimination is not an admission of guilt, several observers said the lack of testimony by the firefighters was the likely determining factor in the town losing the multimillion dollar suit.

Officials said the three firefighters refused to attend the 2008 hearing, opting to submit their resignations rather than incriminate themselves. These firefighters risked a lot by testifying because if they admitted to any wrongdoing, they could have lost their paying jobs ? one works for the city in the Department of Public Works, and another works as a paid firefighter in North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue.

These firefighters are personal friends of Gonnelli and his most ardent supporters. They supported his political efforts against former Mayor Dennis Elwell. According to rumor, they had the expectation that Gonnelli, if he became mayor, would restore them to the Fire Department.

This may have been an unreasonable expectation all along because it is unclear how legally binding their 2008 resignation was. There was also a provision that because they would not cooperate with a local inquiry, they were banned from reapplying to the department.

More importantly, other Gonnelli supporters might feel cheated if the ?Take Back Secaucus? movement spearheaded by Gonnelli was only about restoring these firefighters.

For Gonnelli, this is a serious test of his leadership. Does he throw his support behind his closest friends ? friends he will need later to help him run the town of Secaucus ? or does Gonnelli abandon them in order to avoid the risk of future problems?

The loss of the lawsuit in 2008 leaves the town open to future even more damaging lawsuits should some other incident occur ? and the North End fire house has a long history of problems that include alcohol abuse and other activities.

Even if Gonnelli can drum up the necessary council votes to restore these firefighters, will he regret later when some future incident puts taxpayers are risk ? not to mention the potential for loss of life? Will the town?s insurance carriers be willing to take the same risk?

Lenz says he is not critiquing WNY books

In what seems to be a provocative item designed to create friction between newly appointed Hoboken Councilman Michael Lenz and Rep. Albio Sires, rumors claimed Lenz was going over the municipal books in West New York to find a way to blame Sires (the former mayor) for current tax woes.

?It is not true,? Lenz said emphatically last week.

Sires and current West New York Mayor Sal Vega are apparently on bad terms because Vega believes Sires is behind an effort to recall Vega as mayor. Vega and Lenz are allied through the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO).

Meanwhile, Charles D'Amico, who was recently named as counsel to the city of Bayonne, apparently could not carry over his health coverage and vacation days from his county job, so has taken a leave of absence from that job instead of retiring.

The race is on in Jersey City

Richard Moon, who served as Hudson County?s co-chair for the Obama campaign in 2008, is apparently working with Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop?s campaign for mayor. The race will be held in 2013.

Sean Connolly, who served as Schundler?s corporate counsel, may also be running for mayor.

Meanwhile, Fulop in Jersey City and Ravi Bhalla in Hoboken are supporting the statewide move to change municipal elections from May to November, in an attempt to save money.

In Hoboken, a fundraiser organized by Mike Novak was attended by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, suggesting that there is a new coalition being built for a future municipal election.

Posted on: 2010/1/25 7:31
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Re: Former JC Mayor Bret Schundler to be state's education commissioner.
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FrGuidoSarducci wrote:
Buck Swindler has no qualifications for this job. Founding Golden Door and whining for vouchers qualifies him ? Give me a break.

All Christie wants to do is stick it to the teachers union, a right wingnut whipping boy.


That's a matter of perspective. I'd imagine if I were hiring for that position I would want someone who:

1) has leadership experience
2) understands New Jersey politics
3) is like-minded in terms of my agenda for education
4) has experience in education

Your argument is that he doesn't have tons and tons of experience with #4. I'd argue that it may not be the most important factor for this position. He was the mayor of Jersey City for many years and ran for governor so he clearly meets criteria for #1 and #2. He helped to found a charter school and advocates vouchers, so he meets criteria 3.

Experts don't necessarily make good leaders/managers. The very best computer programmer, does not make the very best manager of computer programmers. In fact, he/she often is a terrible manager. Then again, I have a hiring bias towards leadership and intelligence over experience. I know not everyone agrees with me, but based on my experience some of my best employees didn't look the best on paper.

I'd be willing to bet that Schundler, if he wants to be successful, will surround himself with experts to make up any gap with criteria 4.

Posted on: 2010/1/14 21:54
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Re: Former JC Mayor Bret Schundler to be state's education commissioner.
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Buck Swindler has no qualifications for this job. Founding Golden Door and whining for vouchers qualifies him ? Give me a break.

All Christie wants to do is stick it to the teachers union, a right wingnut whipping boy.

Posted on: 2010/1/14 20:57
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Re: Former JC Mayor Bret Schundler to be state's education commissioner.
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linky wrote:
Shundler gave up a very well paying job over in the city to become Mayor of JC.


And he cared sooooo much about the people of Jersey City he decided to run for governor.

Quote:

What do you know of Shundler?


More than anyone really needs to.

Posted on: 2010/1/14 19:41
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Re: Former JC Mayor Bret Schundler to be state's education commissioner.
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ianmac47 wrote:
Quote:

linky wrote:
he got into politics because he wants to serve the public.


Hahahaha. Right. Hahaha. I've got this bridge for sale...


Go ahead and laugh, but I happen to be right. Shundler gave up a very well paying job over in the city to become Mayor of JC. I am good friends with a woman who used to work for city hall when he was mayor. I used to hang out with a lot of the young, talented people who he recruited ( some from his previous job, and Schundler and they are good people.

And I'm no dope when it comes to JC politics. My family have been running against and voting against the machine since 1930. What do you know of Shundler?

Posted on: 2010/1/14 19:34
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Re: Former JC Mayor Bret Schundler to be state's education commissioner.
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DanL wrote:
...one of the critical first steps should be opening our doors to Teach for America....


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teach_For_America

Posted on: 2010/1/14 19:20
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Re: Former JC Mayor Bret Schundler to be state's education commissioner.
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he got into politics because he wants to serve the public.


Hahahaha. Right. Hahaha. I've got this bridge for sale...

Posted on: 2010/1/14 18:50
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Re: Former JC Mayor Bret Schundler to be state's education commissioner.
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Glad to see Bret Shundler working in any capacity for the State of NJ. Not only is he extremely intelligent, but he got into politics because he wants to serve the public. How many NJ politicians can you say the same for?

Posted on: 2010/1/14 15:33
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Re: Former JC Mayor Bret Schundler to be state's education commissioner.
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interesting pick. one should not discount Bret Schundler's experience living and serving in Jersey City. he is accessible and will be more than just another bureaucrat in Trenton.

while I do not believe in vouchers and the public funding of private school, I look for him to provide charter schools equitable and sustainable funding while taking on the inefficiencies of the Board of Educations.

regardless of his impact, the city (both the public and city government) need to take ownership of our schools. without question, JC public schools can and do provide an academically rigorous education. however, we need to broaden that experience to more and at risk children while cutting the costs of administration. one of the critical first steps should be opening our doors to Teach for America.

when looking to government and politicians for the answers, keep in mind that the city and county's premier charter school was founded and driven by parents.

Posted on: 2010/1/14 15:00
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PubliusIII wrote:
This is one case where I think Canada is right: let the money follow the student where he chooses to go: public school, charter school, or parochial school.

Publius


Below is the wiki on education in Canada

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_canada

According to this, only 8% of students attend private schools.

At the secondary level, private universities are even rarer.

It does not appear that all private schools are publicly funded.

Posted on: 2010/1/14 14:25
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Re: Former JC Mayor Bret Schundler to be state's education commissioner.
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PubliusIII wrote:
This is one case where I think Canada is right: let the money follow the student where he chooses to go: public school, charter school, or parochial school.

Publius


According to the wiki, this apparently is not the case. Hardly anyone goes to private schools in Canada, and only some of them receive public funding or vouchers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_canada

Posted on: 2010/1/14 14:23
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I will not jump down anyone's throat. I simply note that lumping all charter schools together as one entitity is as falacious as making a generalization about all district schools. Charter schools are not the answer as there is no one single answer to a problem as large as "education."

As for anecdotal evidence, my personal comment about the superior quality of the education that my children received at LCCS is surely as valid as your personal observation about charter school children. My older son and his LCCS classmates were as well prepared to excel at McNair as his private and district school counterparts. I guess my testing sample of two (plus their friends) is as statistically (in)significant as your sample.

Posted on: 2010/1/14 13:59
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Terri-

Really- that is hard to believe. My kids are in Elysian Charter School (wll actually one graduated) and while I am not really satisfied with it (I think the idea of progressive education is mostly bogus and an excuse for lazy teachers and lazy students), the kids do well enough vis a vis the regular public schools where progressivism is also regnant. Learning Community seems to be in the same category as Elysian. I do think there needs to be a shake down of Charter schools as some have sort of loopy premises. However, the mediocre performance of the public school system in light of its tremendous demand on resources is undeniable. Members of the teacher's unions make stevedore union guys seem like statesmen. There is a real anti intellectualism that has infected the Academy from K through PhD that does not help. School choice opens things up and makes this infection less likely to be global. This is one case where I think Canada is right: let the money follow the student where he chooses to go: public school, charter school, or parochial school.

Publius

Posted on: 2010/1/14 13:56
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Charter schools - Every student that I have worked with who has come from a charter school lacks all basic skills and social skills necessary to excel in most environments. It astonishes me that people actually still support charter schools. Every time a student transfers from one, you can bet that they will be at least one or two grades below where they should be. This is from what I observed, from my own experience, and I'm sure there will be hundreds who are going to jump down my throat, ask me for my credentials, etc. Be that as it may, that is all for now.

Posted on: 2010/1/14 12:18
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He will be able to promote charter schools, that's for sure.

But he will learn, if he does not already know, that charter schools, or school choice, will not represent the need to have a well run public education system. So while he may or may not get political points "standing up to the unions" that will only take him so far. Even if he wins those battles, he will still have a large job to do, and will ultimately be responsible for that.

Posted on: 2010/1/14 2:17
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Does anyone know if the state senators vote on this?

Posted on: 2010/1/14 2:14
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K-Lo wrote:
Most qualified has never been a criterion for any appointment. He certainly is qualified.


I don't think he'll be able to sell off water leans to plug budget holes though. Financial gimmicks aren't qualifications.

Posted on: 2010/1/14 1:26
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http://blogs.cqpolitics.com/in_the_ri ... going-to-teach-the-t.html

Christie's Going to Teach the Teachers' Union

By Bill Pascoe | January 13, 2010

Well, now he's done it.

"He" is Chris Christie, New Jersey's Governor-elect, winner of a slugfest of a campaign last year against Democrat incumbent Jon Corzine.

"He's done it" refers to his decision, announced at a Wednesday afternoon press conference, to appoint former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler as his Commissioner of Education.

In making the appointment, it's clear, Christie has decided to teach the teachers' union a thing or two about politics.

Schundler -- who was the first Republican elected Mayor of Jersey City in 75 years, and who served in that position from 1992-2001 -- was, through the course of his two-plus terms in office, a noted proponent of school choice.

His determination to empower parents with more control over their own children's education was so strong that within a year of his taking power in Jersey City, the National Education Association had labeled him "Public Enemy Number One."

In the gubernatorial campaign of 2001, Schundler made his school choice agenda central to his campaign platform. Eschewing the kind of traditional GOP campaign advice that says it's a waste of time and resources to campaign in the inner cities, he insisted on taking his education reform message right into the poorest urban areas of the state.

He accepted an invitation to speak to the annual convention of the New Jersey Education Association -- at 170,000 strong then (and 200,000 strong now), the most powerful single special interest group in the Garden State. Given the union's opposition to merit pay, school choice, and other empowerment agenda reforms, it was an interesting exchange.

Schundler told them some uncomfortable truths. Unlike his two opponents at the time -- Democrat Jim McGreevey, and Republican Acting Governor Don DiFrancesco -- he didn't try to woo them. Instead, he explained why he thought they were wrong. He wanted to reform New Jersey education by introducing more competition into the system -- and to do that, he said, he wanted to reform the state's tax code to allow for greater deductibility of charitable contributions for scholarship foundations that would use their money to pay for private or parochial school tuition for children in distressed urban areas.

I've never forgotten the response from the teachers' union's leader, which was something along the lines of, "I congratulate Mayor Schundler for having the courage to come here. And I congratulate our teachers for not throwing their knives and forks at him."

Two days after winning the primary election, Schundler -- joined by Jack Kemp and Milt Campbell (the African-American former Olympic decathlon champion who was that year running as a GOP candidate for the state senate) -- took a bus load of reporters with him into Camden, to signal that he wasn't ceding a single vote, and that he would make McGreevey work to protect his base. School choice was high on the agenda that day.

But things don't always work out the way you plan, and McGreevey was able to turn the tables on Schundler on the education issue. When Schundler talked about reforms that would allow taxpayers to save $600 million in property taxes, McGreevey said that meant Schundler "wanted to take $600 million out of the public schools." It wasn't true, but it was loud, and it was repeated endlessly.

In fact, contrary to the conventional wisdom about that race, Schundler didn't lose because he was "too conservative" for New Jersey; he lost that year's race for governor on the education issue -- McGreevey spent tens of millions of dollars on TV ads, most of which drove his inaccurate portrayal of the Schundler proposal. Exit polls published the day after the election revealed just how much McGreevey's ads hurt -- education was the third most important issue in the election, and among the 16 percent of the electorate who listed it as their top issue, McGreevey beat Schundler by a margin of 71-29 percent. In all my years doing campaigns, I've never seen a single issue cut that strongly for one candidate against another.

But that was eight years ago, and nothing has happened to make urban education in New Jersey any better. In fact, by many measures, the problem has gotten worse.

In fact, it's gotten so bad that key traditional Democratic allies -- including urban lawmakers, ministers, and community leaders -- have broken with the teachers' union to join with conservatives to push for a pilot program that will allow vouchers in the eight cities in the state that have the worst schools. The pilot program would allow businesses to direct a portion of their state taxes to scholarships that needy students could use to pay for private or parochial school tuition.

If that pilot program sounds familiar, it should -- it's remarkably similar to what Schundler was proposing as his campaign's centerpiece back in 2001. But unlike Schundler's proposal -- which would not have diverted a single dime in state funding -- by allowing businesses to direct a portion of their state taxes to the scholarships, this pilot program actually would move state taxpayer dollars.

In this June 2009 New York Times piece, some of these traditional Democratic allies who've now broken with the teachers' union are identified: Newark Mayor Cory Booker; Council of Black Ministers chief Rev. Reginald Jackson; Assemblyman Joe Cryan, the state Democratic Party chairman; state Sen. Ray Lesniak, a north Jersey Democratic power broker; George Norcross, a south Jersey Democratic power broker; and Martin Perez, founder of the Latino Leadership Alliance.

Christie's decision to appoint Schundler confirms the faith that many New Jersey conservatives had in Christie during the course of the long campaign -- and confounds conservative critics for whom Christie could (and will) never be conservative enough.

And it puts New Jersey Education Association leaders on the spot -- do they really want to pick a fight with a brand new governor over a cabinet appointee, knowing that the issue that makes the appointee objectionable to them, school choice, is an issue on which they're clearly on the losing side? Especially when picking a fight with the governor means they'd be picking a fight with their traditional allies -- like the Rev. Reginald Jackson, who, Wednesday afternoon, praised the Schundler nomination?

Ideas have consequences. And so do elections. If New Jersey Education Association leaders have not yet learned that lesson, Chris Christie is about to teach them.

http://blogs.cqpolitics.com/in_the_ri ... going-to-teach-the-t.html

Posted on: 2010/1/14 0:03
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Re: Former JC Mayor Bret Schundler to be state's education commissioner.
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Most qualified has never been a criterion for any appointment. He certainly is qualified.

Posted on: 2010/1/13 22:01
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hero69 wrote:
Oh, this should be fun to watch. Is Schundler the most qualified person to head the state's education department. Can you smell the cronyism already? ROFLMFAO


Are you saying he is unqualified for the position?

Posted on: 2010/1/13 20:30
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Re: Former JC Mayor Bret Schundler to be state's education commissioner.
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This is Bret Schundler as reported by the local paper.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5B_3oRUoFo

Posted on: 2010/1/13 20:18
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And he was a great supporter and proponent of charter schools.
Yea Bret ! Hip Hip Hooray !

Posted on: 2010/1/13 19:08
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Yes - as opposed to the cronyism under the Obama administration. Give me a break

Posted on: 2010/1/13 18:51
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Re: Former JC Mayor Bret Schundler to be state's education commissioner.
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Oh, this should be fun to watch. Is Schundler the most qualified person to head the state's education department. Can you smell the cronyism already? ROFLMFAO

Posted on: 2010/1/13 18:40
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Former JC Mayor Bret Schundler to be state's education commissioner.
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Former JC Mayor Schundler to be state edu commish

STATEWIDE -- Former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler, who turns 51 on Thursday, got an early birthday present from Gov.-Elect Chris Christie, according to a newspaper report - it was announced that he will become the state's education commissioner.

Schundler served two terms as Jersey City's mayor, from 1992 through 2001. A former Democrat, he became a Republican before running for mayor, and was the city's first Republican mayor in more than seven decades.

Schundler was most recently serving as the COO of a Christian liberal arts college in New York City. He graduated with honors from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.

Unlike many Hudson County politicians, he has stayed relatively free from scandal. However, he has sometimes been blamed for Jersey City's frequent use of tax abatement deals for developers. He also battled against the ACLU in 1995 because he wanted the city to be able to continue to display various religious symbols at City Hall around the holidays -- including a menorah and a creche. Eventually, he won the right.

Posted on: 2010/1/13 18:37
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