Showing posts from March, 2010

Compromise schrompromise!

It's nice to have an iPhone. It's an unnecessary luxury in my life! Today while I showed my daughter, niece and MIL around Manhattan I was able to keep in touch with the real world.

It was a wonderful day! We started at Jekyll and Hydes, took some pictures with half-naked models at Abercrombie & Fitch, took the subway to Chinatown - after a quick stop to watch the street gymnasts in the southern part of Central Park - from Chinatown we walked through Soho to the Village. We took the subway again from 14th street (after lots of window and a little real shopping, a cafe stop and more street theater at NYU) up to Times Square, then walked to the car at 49th St and 10th Ave. It was a great day!!!

Somewhere near Canal Street and Broadway I checked my phone and found this in my in-box about the BREA-BOE compromise. Once I got home I also read this.

Miriam Webster defines a compromise as:
Main Entry: 1com·pro·mise Pronunciation: \ˈkäm-prə-ˌmīz\ Function: noun Etymology: Middle Engl…

Tuesday - prep the ark....

I actually believe in Noah's story for the first time in my life!

Two weeks ago we ventured into NYC, SM, TM, N and I - another family plus BM joined us. It was definitely the worst NYC trip I'd had in years. We spent the day wet: either from walking a few blocks in the down-pouring rain (who knew the rain could blow sideways with all those skyscrapers to protect you?!). The "fun" went beyond our perpetual state of dampness: One child ended up in the ER- the parents thought it was appendicitis, but it was only a belly ache. MoMA was more crowded than I'd ever seen it! It took 1/2 an hour to get tickets... but my friend found a condom on the floor!!! The kids loved the Tim Burton exhibition but I'll admit I still didn't totally get the artist is "present" Marina Abromovic. I used to know several performance artists, and I enjoy performance art, but this wasn't quite for me... there is only so long I can watch two people stare into each others…

Monday morning blues... and how to make everyone happy?

It's a hard morning to get up. Dark and gloomy, I feel guilty sending my kids to school when many of their friends are in Florida or other places, but I'd feel worse if I let them stay home and watch TV. What good would that do them?

A lot happened this weekend on the BOE front. Apparently the teachers voted to let the union negotiate. Some concessions have been made - and some things have been restored to the budget. Nothing will be guaranteed until teachers vote on this today. You can read about this here. I would have been disappointed if they didn't negotiate.

On the homefront - we have my mother-in-law and niece visiting for the next week. I love having them here, but it is always hard to find things that both my 15 year old niece and my 9 year old son want to do. When I choose to do what my niece wants/needs (usually shopping) my son stays home and plays video games or watches TV. When I choose him, then I am not as good a hostess. My idea for a day with a compromise…

A good day to lie on the couch with Diego...

No, he's not the the mailman!

He's my loving dog. Unconditional love, comfort and warmth... with no political affiliations! Pictured to the right, as a puppy. He's much bigger now!

I couldn't sleep last night. I was fretting about the state of my kids' schools. So today I treated myself to a half-hour on the sofa resting with Diego.

Just a little more than a year ago I was feeling such strong optimism. Remember how it felt? My father and I just had a spat... he's trying to blame Obama for the crisis in NJ schools! That just shows that anyone can twist any of this to find a personal demon, or victim.

I feel like all my "activism" - the meetings, the letters, the e-mails, the calls and countless discussions- even this blog - is all in vain. All these decisions have been made behind closed doors and I am completely powerless to invoke change.

A few weeks ago I blew off the BOE meeting to hang with Sawyer...

I think this week, I might have to spend it with…


Major bummer - it's everyone's fault- all three unions and the BOE! I don't want to hear anyone who works at BRRSD say they are sad about any cuts whatsoever! And I want to know, that somehow, the BOE did everything in it's power. What did it offer???

Teachers, please don't complain about losing the janitorial service at the next BOE meeting- it sounds hypocritical!! Even more so: please don't complain next year or even mention large class sizes as to why you can't help my struggling son. I expect you to teach just as well or better no matter how many kids are in your classes!

And, any administrator who works in the district better be much more willing to help my kids than they have been in the past. No excuses, OK!

How did I get so anti-union? I'm a left wing, socially liberal Democrat! My mother was a teacher!!!! Yet, I feel like the district I moved to isn't where I thought I'd be living. And that this whole thing is surreal.

What am I talkin…

Let me sound you out on this...

According to the exchange at the last BOE meeting between one of the Bridgewater BOE members and the head of the BREA, the two parties are slated to sit down for negotiations today. I imagine them sitting around a conference table as I write this, smiles on their faces, but little will to make any concessions. Will anyone change his/her mind?

Even the best-case scenario (whatever that means) won't be a be-all-and-end-all fix it for our financial woes. If everyone top to bottom takes a freeze, we can't save more than $2.7 million of the nearly $9 million hole. But even having parties sitting down and talking is a start. "Negotiations" up until now (according to statements at the BOE meeting) have been via letters. It's clearly not the same thing as meeting face to face if you want to get to the heart of the matter.

My big issue today is how this financial crisis has played out within the community. We are all pitted against one another, bitter and feeling like the…

Another weeknight spent knitting...

At another board of ed meeting....

My biggest concern still is class sizes next year.  Anything under 25 will be a pleasant surprise. My biggest frustration is the low cuts in administration compared to the numbers of teachers being hit. I've said it several times in public and private. Many others brought it to the Board's attention too.

If you live here and are curious enough to read my blog, then there is no use rehashing what happened. If you are interested, you can read about yourself:

Here are the Bridgewater Superintendent's slides presented last night with the new cuts.

Here's the Courier's explanation of what went on last night.

Here's a comparison with our richer neighbors to the north and west. They lost ALL state aid. Someone told me Branchburg lost over 70% of their state aid, so our 55% seems less bad.....

And here is why the Township can't bail out the school district if the budget doesn't pass. They're being cut too. Bridgewater go…

Soccer Mom's back???

Now where's your picket fence, love?
And where's that shiny car?
And did it ever get you far?
You never seemed so tense, love
I've never seen you fall so hard
Do you know where you are?
And truth be told, I miss you
And truth be told, I'm lying"

If you can't tell from the weather, you know it by the e-mails... from the coaches. From the manager. From the parents.

Soccer season is upon us again! Carpools are starting..... ladies and gentlemen rev your engines!

Last Spring I felt like I spent 200 hours a week in the car driving kids back and forth from various fields. It seemed like every time I got into the car this song was playing. It became "my song" and it was a running carpool joke.

Enough time has passed that I am actually looking forward to it. The cold chill on the sidelines. The stressful "Where's my sock?" pre-game trauma. The camaraderie with our team's fantastic parents.

The post-game ice-cream!

We're ready, team!

102.9F - Friday's delayed posting...

(This was written but not posted on Friday)

That may be C's temperature, but it was also accurate for the temperature at the BOE whiner-fest on Tuesday. The newest presentation of the various doomsday tiers (let's face it, there is no good news here, only increments of bad) in the latest game of "what should we cut first?" angered parents and teachers alike.

I stirred the pot and turned my name to mud by stating that I still think the most equitable solution would be an across the board freeze of all salaries top to bottom.

This was not popular with teachers and I was afraid to enter the school the following day!

I also said to the Superintendent that if he thinks there are an average of 18 kids per class, he hasn't been to my kids' schools. None of them have EVER had less than 20 kids in a class. So when he says increased class sizes means "22-24" kids per class he sounds ignorant.... I am assuming that with these cuts my kids will have around 27 i…

Spring chicken???

I'm almost afraid to write the words lest I jinx it. It's been in the low 60s and sunny the past few days. The whole area is saying "aaah". Is spring here???

I've even turned off the heat am planning to change the window with a screen at the front door.

But there are areas of concern threatening just beneath the surface, namely the situation with our schools.

Last week I went from cautious optimism to pessimism the size of the Atlantic. It sounds like the BOE and the various unions are playing a game of chicken with our school aged kids as the losers.

Yes, I get that the teachers and administrators have had it a bit too sweet the last few years. While everyone else is getting cuts, they have continued to get raises. I agree that in these times they should take a temporary wages freeze, but I feel the same way about all district employees.

I am worried... but I have to remind myself what my parents taught me, i.e. that the foundation of a strong education starts i…