I just got a call about an hour ago from the National Education Association (NEA), reminding to vote for Barbara Buono, who I was told is “pro”-education. They must have gotten my number from an old list. Phone numbers are frequently repurposed these days.
I am not a teacher. I’m a writer, or so my resume tells me. I’m willing to do anything in the way of office work that anyone will give me an opportunity to do, although I’ll also pursue editorial positions, as soon as I’m certain I have InDesign well under my belt. PhotoShop, I know, and I’m proficient in the Microsoft Office Suite in proper order: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Having been born with underdeveloped lungs and an unprepossessing appearance, a career in education was out of the question (working for a textbook publisher isn’t, though). I haven’t the voice or the stamina to carry me through a day on my feet trying to hear over giggles, chatter, and the general buzz that children make.
All the same, I resented the robocallers assertion that only the NEA, a major supporter of the Democrat party, is “pro”-education. If they are, they’re doing a poor job in their Democrat-stronghold cities, like Newark and Camden. Newark “boasts” of a 72.6% graduation rate. The Media always speaks of the drop-out rate, which is always bad. But we forgot about the outright failure rate of students, particularly in the city; those who stay in school but never get their diploma.
One has to suspect Newark’s numbers in comparison with other major cities. Camden has the lowest graduation rate: 44.3 percent. Trenton, the state capital, fares only a little better with a 48.4 percent graduation rate; Asbury Park 49.0 percent; Passaic jumps up another 10 percent, at 60.8 percent, and nearby Paterson, 66.4%. Jersey City (67.3%) and Elizabeth (65.7%) rank somewhat higher. Jersey City has an increasing Asian population; Elizabeth is majority Hispanic, many of whom come from Cuba rather than Mexico. Union City is Little Cuba; 84.71 percent of its population is “Hispanic.” Interestingly, Union City’s high school graduation rate (90.7%) is nearly comparable to the suburbs; only two percent lower than Butler High School.
Still, in the last gubernatorial race, 76.8 percent of Union City’s registered voters voted Democrat. Union City had the highest voter turnout of any of the large cities studied – 41.0 percent. Even Newark, the largest city in the state, could only produce 30.3 percent of its voters (48.4% of whom are registered Democrat) for the last gubernatorial election.
Six of Newark’s 14 high schools are vocational schools. Such schools would naturally have a higher graduation rate. As for the rest of the high schools, such as Malcolm Shabazz High, have abysmal SAT scores and graduation rates. They rate among the worst-performing high schools in the state, the lowest being Woodrow Wilson H.S. in Camden.
Urban school teachers’ salaries are comparable with their suburban counterparts. The ex-urban, high-end suburbs do have a higher teachers’ salary. They also have larger percentages of Asians in their communities. And in Princeton, at least, gang numbers comparable to some of the worst cities.
The higher the income and education level, the more likely the voters will be to turnout. Ninety-five percent of Basking Ridge’s voters are registered. In Demarest, virtually every adult is registered to vote.
The cities have higher populations, but the suburbs have more registered voters and a greater turnout at elections. That number among Republican-leaning voters has been dwindling with every election. Getting the numbers for the 2012 elections is pretty difficult. County election boards only post results countywide since Obama was re-elected.
However from the 2004 Presidential election to the 2012 election in Bloomingdale, Butler and Kinnelon, all solid Republican towns, there was a 21.2, 30.6, and 21.4 percent decline in Republican votes respectively. The median turnout for that period in Bloomingdale was 71.0. From the 2008 election to the 2012 election, there was a precipitous drop from 53.1 percent votes for the Republican candidate to 34 percent for GOP candidate. The turnout dropped by 13.8 percent in a Republican town.
Butler, a Morris County town next door to Bloomingdale, showed a slightly less precipitous drop in turnout between 2008 and 2012 (6.1 percent), but the drop in votes for the GOP was 17.1 percent less, almost as bad as Bloomingdale’s 19.1 percent. It’s hard to imagine how anyone could have thought that Mitt Romney was a worse candidate than John McCain.
In Kinnelon, a fairly wealthy enclave (in comparison to the working class towns of Bloomingdale and Butler), the turnout dropped 12.5 percent in eight years. The turnout was higher in 2008 (79.5 percent), but still Romney received far fewer votes in Kinnelon that the more appealing Romney (62.4 percent versus 43.0 percent – a loss of 19.4 percent).
When faithful Kinnelon loses faith in the Republican party, when people who are affluent and upscale resign themselves to tyranny, something is wrong. The low turnout numbers for these three towns tells the story. So does the rise in Hispanic populations in those towns and those of their neighbors. In every case, the Hispanic population has doubled. The populations are nothing like those in the cities (in Union City, Hispanics are the majority population) but the numbers are climbing.
I was watching the movie The Fountainhead yesterday, based on Ayn Rand’s novel about a newspaper publisher who sets out to destroy the reputation of an iconoclastic architect who rejects the mediocre, conventional building styles public officials and planning boards demand.
The Fountainhead demonstrates how even in the 1940s, the press had the power to crush individuality and anyone who supported it. No matter what anyone says, we must not give in to the voices of the populist masses and throw away our God-given right to individuality.
That individuality is what the Republican Party despises about the Tea Party. They are the mediocrities characterized in the film and Ayn Rand’s novel. Roark, the iconic architect, blows up his own building rather than allow mediocre architects to change, and ruin, his design.
The Founding Fathers created a unique form of representative government. They were great men with great minds and foresight to see into the future. The current administration is in the process of razing our great country, with its relatively simple, yet elegant form of government, and creating a socialist/communist monstrosity, ugly in its uniformity, unsound in its foundation, and fatal to the human spirit.
Shall we hide in our tortoise shells tomorrow, thinking there’s nothing we can do, then allow ourselves to be driven lemming-like over the cliff by them? Or shall decent, hard-working New Jerseyans turn out in numbers tomorrow and preserve our lifestyle?
The future is not in progressive government, but in growing, thriving families connected to God through their houses of worship, their local schools, their workplaces, their neighborhoods, linked together not by political chains but by free choice.
Remember to vote tomorrow; it’s more important than you know.