7:20am I have exactly one hour to blog. I’m going to go old school and keep writing/publishing/editing to this blog post during this hour.
Last night was a bad night for Democrats. The media was paying attention to the tight race in VA, because the young journalists live there. But nobody was paying attention to Jersey, which was plain stupid, because the week before the election, local polls were showing that the race was going to be close. That information was out there. But the national press was completely clueless.
Also, the national press seemed to be totally clueless about what motivated voters yesterday. It was not Trump. It was schools, taxes, discomfort with covid obstacles, the price of burgers at the pub, and the feeling that others were benefiting from government handouts, while they were struggling and ignored.
Dude, it’s really hard to not say I TOLD YA SO. So, I’m not going to try.
I TOLD YA SO.
We need to put education writers on the front page of newspapers, and not bury their stories at the bottom of the screen or the back of the paper.
I’m a Democrat. I voted Democratic. But I have a lot of sympathies for my Independent friends who voted for the Republican for Governor of New Jersey yesterday. The residents in this state had a tough year, and they feel that that their leaders were not paying attention to them. Some of their issues:
Taxes are a big issue in Jersey. We pay the highest local property taxes in the country. Ciattarelli had a killer ad that he played over and over with a clip of Murphy saying that if taxes were your issue, then Jersey was probably not your state.
The schools were closed for 18 months. Our community colleges and country-run special education programs are STILL closed. Yes, still closed.
Parents are showing up to board of ed meetings crying, because their kindergarteners are still constrained by insane covid regulations. One parent told the board this past Monday that her child cannot talk with her friends during indoor recess. The kids have to sit at their desks for an hour. A teacher goes around and hands each kid a toy.
The results of learning loss is going to be huge. I suspect that the state has the data on their latest standardized test, but purposely held back those results until after the election.
Since April 2020, I have been writing that school closures were taking a huge ton on kids and families. Subscribe to my newsletter! But this message was not echoed by people with louder voices than mine.
On top of taxes and school closures, people are just tired of all the inconveniences caused by our state’s militant response to COVID. Because the workers are still not working in their offices, it’s still very difficult to do anything with DMV. Applying for any social services takes twice the time and involves tons of errors. I heard stories about the social security office demanding that applicants send in original documents through the mail, which are then lost by the post office. It took me three months to register Ian for one class at the community college, because the workers were at home and did not answer their phones.
I do love that the new mayor of New York City talks openly about having a learning disability. I also love that he secretly lives in Jersey. (Funny story in Curbed about this.)
Our school board and town council elections were also highly competitive yesterday. People cared about their local politics yesterday. Which makes this politics geek very happy.
Do I judge writers and pundits who have NEVER attended a school board meeting, yet feel free to pontificate about the inner workings of these meetings and parents? Well, yes. Yes I do.
Am I the only person who has been reading the comments on Randi Weingarten tweets this year? Hello? This election was predictable (to those who have terrible insomnia and read weird stuff at 3am.)
I tweeted this on November 1 — Of course, parents (and all community residents) should have a say in their schools. Public schools are a government service. Political participation is a GOOD thing. If you don’t like what parents are saying, then show them why they should be making different choices. And teach parents how to properly participation in the democratic rights. Shutting down parents is a loser position. It’s not right morally, and the party that shuts them down will pay the price in the polls.
My friend, Helaine Olen, has been writing columns for the Washington Post that are totally correct. She writes that the public’s economic irritations are serious and should not be discounted. She also wrote that many people felt left out by the Washington’s economic stimulus plans, and they were going to sink Biden’s social policy plans. Again, this election was not about Trump. It was about a thousand of small cuts, irritations, slights, and inconveniences this year.
There are big sections of the country where Trump is simply not an issue. Not everything has to do with race; white parents were angry at their local white political leaders about school closures. If residents are unhappy, then political leaders will lose elections. Who knew, right?
Okay, I gotta scram. Will try to be back in a few hours.