Archive for October, 2010

The End of Government Funding for NJN?

The New Jersey Legislative Task Force on Public Broadcasting has issued its report on the future of NJN. In this document, some of the findings include: “The State should not operate a public media outlet”(p.11); yet “The State must continue to commit to NJN’s mision.” (p.15) All in all, the report maintains that New Jersey-centric entity is still essential, but it must be funded in a different manner. News and analysis are found at: The Star-Ledger, Press of Atlantic City, newjerseynewsroom, and The Philadephia Inquirer. Also, please read this August 2010 paper – A Future for Public Media in New Jersey. Ironically, NJN has posted the three public hearings of the Task Force.

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Textbook Rental Legislation for New Jersey Colleges

Senate bill S1367, which “Authorizes public institutions of higher education to establish textbook rental programs” is now before the Senate Education Committee. We have written about the high cost of textbooks in a previous entry.

 

 

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New Jersey Rates an “A” in School Funding

Of course, this report – Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card – is based on funding for the years 2005-2008 and therefore does not reflect the more than $800 million Governor Christie has recently taken away from the school districts.

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George Washington’s Victorious Routes Through New Jersey

The standing joke in Bergen County is that every main road was used by Washington’s army in its various retreats, whether it is Kinderkamack Road, Schraalenburgh Road, New Bridge Road, River Road, or any of the other thoroughfares which date from that perilous time. But we recently stumbled across a three-volume work that traces the routes of the Continental and French armies as they marched through New Jersey to defeat Cornwallis and their triumphant return home. We can recommend to you the heavily-documented work The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, in the State of New Jersey, 1781-1783: An Historical and Architectural Survey. These volumes are the result of P.L.106-473, the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Heritage Act of 2000 which authorizes a study of the 600 mile route from Connecticut to Virginia taken by the allied armies. Other states have submitted route studies for W3R,  as it is commonly abbreviated; maps used by General Rochambeau may also be consulted as well as detailed maps from the National Park Service. Far be it from us to present all the information available on the Revolutionary War in New Jersey, but we can mention some good starting points: this site- Crossroads – which contains Crossroads of the American Revolution in New Jersey, Chronology of the American Revolution in New Jersey, and other links; The Revolutionary War in Bergen County, Bergen County Historical Society (relevant articles at the bottom of the screen), New Jersey’s Revolutionary Experience (28 out-of-print pamphlets), and  Historic Sites of New Jersey.

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College Graduation Rates

Much has been made of graduation rates recently. As well, emphasis has been placed on the number of years it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree, now thought to be six years. Conflicting numbers are thrown about, various reports are cited, and the outcome is more confusion than clarity. This paper from the American Council on Education- College Graduation Rates: Behind the Numbers – attempts “…to provide a layperson’s guide to the most commonly reported graduation rates and the databases used to calculate these rates.”(p.iv) To that end, it examines some of the better known databases, among them IPEDS , Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS) , and National Student Clearinghouse , and indicates their advantages and disadvantages. (The appendix arranges this information in useful tabular format.) While each of the reporting systems does contain valuable information, the criteria for data inclusion varies. So when discussing statistics and figures, it really is necessary to consider the source.

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Mario Vargas Llosa Wins Nobel Prize in Literature

It has just been announced that Mario Vargas llosa, the Peruvian novelist and former candidate for Peruvian president, has been awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. And his New Jersey connection? He is teaching this semester at Princeton University. You can watch the YouTube announcement; a biobibliography on him is also available. Further information may be found at: The New York Times, NPR, Reuters (brief excerpts from his writings), and Emory University (discusses the themes of his works).

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New Supreme Court Term Starts Today

The first Monday in October marks the opening of a new Supreme Court term. One of the best ways to follow the cases being argued is by visiting SCOTUSblog. Some of the more important cases are outlined  by CNN and a listing through early December is also available. The recusal of Justice Kagan from about half of the 52 cases already on the docket is explained by the Washington Post. How and why the Supreme Court decides on which cases to hear can be found here courtesy of PBS. Same-day transcripts of oral arguments can also be accessed; for the first time current audio recordings will be made available on the Friday of the week of oral arguments for a particular case. Previous oral arguments will be found at the Oyez Project. C-SPAN has an extensive video library on the Court.

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