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Back to School : The Rise of Customized Education

Back to School : The Rise of Customized Education

Customized learning has led the education news cycle over the past few weeks as back to school season gets in full swing. And for good reason. Every day there is growing evidence that a seismic shift in the delivery of instruction is underway, bringing with it a tidal wave of educational options for families.

Earlier this month, the news site Education Week published an inside look at one family’s hybrid schooling experience.

Emmy Elkin’s school day starts with a cooking show.

The 10-year-old and her mom, Jill Elkin of Peachtree City,Ga., are up at8 a.m., making breakfast along with “Iron Chef America” and chatting about algebra. Last week, Emmy left home after breakfast to meet a new Japanese tutor, around the time her sister Kayla, 14, dragged herself awake to get her independent mathematics study done before a friend came over for a joint British literature course. The sisters spent the afternoon working through a chemistry course online, with Jill Elkin giving more individual coaching to her younger daughter.

Kayla and Emmy are part of the modern generation of home-schooled students, piecing together their education from their mother, a former Fayette County math teacher, other district and university teachers, parent co-ops, and online providers.

Education Week goes on to profileBaywood Learning Center in California, which provides courses à la carte to homeschooling families:

Parents usually design a patchwork quilt of different classes and activities for their children,” [school director Grace Neufeld] said. “What I see is they sign up for various classes being held in various locations like science centers or museums or different places. They also add things like music lessons, art lessons, sports, or martial arts.

http://tinyurl.com/97ozfww

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Less religious states give less to charity: study

Less religious states give less to charity: study
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Updated: 9:09 AM, August 20, 2012
Posted: 9:08 AM, August 20, 2012

BOSTON — A new study on the generosity of Americans suggests that states with the least religious residents are also the stingiest about giving money to charity.

The study released Monday by the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that residents in states where religious participation is higher than the rest of the nation, particularly in the South, gave the greatest percentage of their discretionary income to charity.

The Northeast, with lower religious participation, was the least generous to charities, with the six New England states filling the last six slots among the 50 states.

The study also found that patterns of charitable giving are colored in political reds and blues.

Of the 10 least generous states, nine voted for Democrat Barack Obama for president in the last election. By contrast, of the 10 most generous states, eight voted for Republican John McCain.

But Peter Panepento, the Chronicle’s assistant managing editor, said that political breakdown likely speaks to a state’s religious makeup, not its prevailing political views. He noted the lowest-ranked Democrat states were also among the least religious, while the top-ranked Republican states were among the more religious.

“I don’t know if I could go out and say it’s a complete Republican-Democrat difference as much as it is different religious attitudes and culture in these states,” he said.

The study was based on Internal Revenue Service records of people who itemized deductions in 2008, the most recent year statistics were available.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/less_religious_states_give_less_S2otVE4CvMfKFXbpNyB9jO#ixzz245xFFjbd

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56 % of Swing-State Voters Say not better off than they were four years ago

56 % of Swing-State Voters Say not better off than they were four years ago
Divided as to whether they would be better off in four years under Obama or Romney
by Jeffrey M. Jones

PRINCETON, NJ — A majority of voters in key 2012 election swing states say they are not better off than they were four years ago; 40% say they are better off. Swing-state voters’ assessments of their situation compared with 2008 have varied little since last fall.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/156776/swing-state-voters-say-no-better-off-2008.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=syndication&utm_content=morelink&utm_term=All%20Gallup%20Headlines%20-%20Politics

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Senator Michael Doherty: Lack of Prosecutions in MF Global Collapse “Beyond Suspicious”

Senator Michael Doherty: Lack of Prosecutions in MF Global Collapse “Beyond Suspicious”

Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) responded with dismay to published reports that prosecutions are unlikely following a criminal investigation into the collapse of MF Global and the disappearance of as much as $1.6 billion of customer funds.

“This is the first time in history that segregated funds held in customer accounts were raided by a financial firm to cover the firm’s losses,” said Doherty. “It’s almost unthinkable that the mega-rich executives at MF Global could loot the accounts of farmers and middle-class Americans and be allowed to get away with it.”

Days after it was revealed that customer funds were missing and MF Global declared bankruptcy, the firm’s CEO, former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, resigned.

A piece published in the New York Times indicated that although it has been confirmed that customer funds were tapped to pay the firm’s debts, in violation of the law, it is unlikely that criminal charges will be filed against Corzine or other of the firm’s top executives.

“How much does someone on Wall Street have to steal before Obama’s Justice Department will take action?” asked Doherty. “Isn’t $1 billion enough?”

Doherty noted that Corzine is among President Obama’s top bundlers, raising more than $500,000 for the President’s reelection campaign in the first quarter of 2012.

“President Obama’s ties to Jon Corzine and the lack of prosecutions of anyone at MF Global have to raise eyebrows,” said Doherty. “It looks to the average person like you can get away with anything if your political connections or fundraising abilities are good enough. The lack of prosecutions in this case is beyond suspicious.”

The article in the Times also noted that federal regulators may not proceed with civil enforcement actions or attempt to ban Corzine from future work on Wall Street. The paper cited sources close to Corzine who claimed he might be planning to start a new hedge fund.

“Corzine wants to return to Wall Street to continue adding to his millions while countless small investors of his old firm are still waiting for their life savings to be returned,” added Doherty. “Wall Street must be the only place where the federal government lets you return to the scene of the crime and get paid for it.”

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Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino responds to Donovan

Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino responds to Donovan
POSTED ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 17, 2012 2:21 PM
BY JOHN ENSSLIN

Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino – through his spokesman Richard Moriarity – responded Friday afternoon to the statement issued earlier in the day by County Executive Kathleen Donovan – on the issue of whether to merge the County Police into the Sheriff’s Office.

Here’s what the Sheriff’s office had to say:

“Once again, the County Executive is demonstrating that she is completely out of touch with the law enforcement consolidation discussion, and that is distressing. She is proving to be nothing more than the guardian of the bureaucracy and is willing to say anything to defend it. It is unfortunate that the County Executive chooses to pick fights with everyone; it has ultimately cost the taxpayers a fortune. She is wrong with everything she has asserted in her press release.

“The Sheriff has not promised a $17 million reduction in the Sheriff’s Office – the $17 million dollar figure is the potential savings put forth by the Guidepost Study by eliminating the County Police. The Executive’s office should have their facts in order before firing out subterfuge and fear to the public.

“Instead of attacking the Sheriff, the County Executive should thank him for his efforts at reducing the overall budget of Bergen County. Last year, the Sheriff’s Office alone represented over 60% of the overtime reduction in the county, cut the budget by the most of any single Sheriff in Bergen County history (over 1.7 million in real dollars) and cemented a contract that actually saves the taxpayers money .

read more

http://blog.northjersey.com/bergenbeat/4875/this-just-in-sheriff-responds-to-donovan/

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There are thousands of dogs in Ridgewood and neighboring communities. That’s thousands of taxpayers who believe dogs are important to their families.

There are thousands of dogs in Ridgewood and neighboring communities. That’s thousands of taxpayers who believe dogs are important to their families.

“Somewhere else?” Where exactly? There are thousands of dogs in Ridgewood and neighboring communities. That’s thousands of taxpayers who believe dogs are important to their families. And yet there is no adequate open space where these taxpayers can bring their dogs to socialize and exercise — both activities which lead to better behavior, less aggression, less barking, etc. The old park was an imposition on the homeowners because the county didn’t do its research and instead created the conditions that resulted in overcrowding and barking.

There is a new dog park to be built in Van Saun Park. With the open space there, I hope the county will learn from its experience at the Duck Pond and do it right this time.

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Nicholas M. Campanello of Ridgewood , 16, died on Aug. 8.

Nicholas M. Campanello of Ridgewood , 16, died on Aug. 8.

Born in Hackensack, he lived in Ridgewood and would have been entering his senior year at Ridgewood High School in September. He was a member of The Asian Festival at Ridgewood High and was involved in The Youth Ministry Program at Mt. Carmel R.C. Church in Ridgewood.

He is survived by his mother, Rhonda (Bartole) Campanello; his father, Thomas Campanello; his brother, Dylan Campanello; his grandparents, Thomas and Judy Campanello; his grandfather, Richard Bartole; his godparents, Christina and Thomas; several aunts, uncles and cousins; and his close friends, Jacob, Ryan, Jeff, Mike, Andy, Chris, Kat and Cole.

A funeral Mass was celebrated on Aug. 13 at Mt. Carmel R.C. Church in Ridgewood. Cremation was private. Arrangements were by C.C. Van Emburgh Funeral Home in Ridgewood.

Memorial donations may be made to FAAN (Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network), 1178 Lee Jackson Highway, Suite 160, Fairfax, VA 22033 ATTN: Nick Campanello Memorial Fund.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rest-In-Peace-Nick-Campanello/343394039070081

http://www.northjersey.com/obituaries/166505786_Nicholas_M__Campanello__16.html

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Niall Ferguson: Obama’s Gotta Go

Niall Ferguson: Obama’s Gotta Go
Aug 19, 2012 1:00 AM EDT

Why does Paul Ryan scare the president so much? Because Obama has broken his promises, and it’s clear that the GOP ticket’s path to prosperity is our only hope.

I was a good loser four years ago. “In the grand scheme of history,” I wrote the day after Barack Obama’s election as president, “four decades is not an especially long time. Yet in that brief period America has gone from the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. to the apotheosis of Barack Obama. You would not be human if you failed to acknowledge this as a cause for great rejoicing.”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/08/19/niall-ferguson-on-why-barack-obama-needs-to-go.html

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Free Speech In A Time Of Authoritarian Politics

Free Speech In A Time Of Authoritarian Politics
Posted on August 14, 2012, 8:00 PM

Last week, we examined the state of degradation that now besets that most representative branch of New Jersey’s government – the Legislature. In doing so, we described the fear among both Republicans and Democrats:

The New Jersey Legislature has now reached the point at which it must even look on itself as a running joke. Think of it! Talented men and women who run for office filled with ideas – an office for which they have to beg for support from political organizations, beg for money from special interests, and then beg for votes from their neighbors – only to find that they have landed a $49,000-a-year job with few perks and little authority. A junior staff member in the Executive Branch outranks a legislator – and earns a lot more.

On the Republican side, junior staffers regularly invade the caucus to watch omnipresent and report back on the slightest divergence from the party line. They are the carrion crows of a dead caucus, picking at the slightest movement and squawking loudly. The “elected representatives of the people” fear them, as they fear the dreaded call to the “front office” for some discipline.

But the Democrats are even worse. The leadership of the Assembly is cut and carved up by a cabal of party bosses – with the top jobs going to those least likely to exhibit an independent thought. So the Assembly Speakership goes to an administrative assistant working in the office of the underboss of the North Jersey Democrat “family” – one of the three “families” who run New Jersey politics.

The bosses collect legislators like gems and flaunt their opulent control over the “people’s chambers”. For instance, if this underboss needs to flex a little muscle over the state budget, there is a State Senator working in his office who serves on the Budget and Appropriations Committee.

http://conservativenewjersey.com/free-speech-in-a-time-of-authoritarian-politics

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Bob Menendez: Writing Letters for Big Bank Pals

Bob Menendez: Writing Letters for Big Bank Pals
August 15th 2012

Senator Menendez may not enjoy receiving letters inviting him to debate jobs and the economy, but he doesn’t mind sending letters, especially when he’s doing the bidding for his big bank pals. According to the Wall Street Journal, Senator Menendez wrote a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The letter from Menendez, called “grotesquely inappropriate” by a nonpartisan bank regulator, urged the Fed to approve the sale of the failing First Bank Americano in 2009.

Despite the bank being ordered by the FDIC in 2007 to cease and desist from operating with inadequate loan policies, violating the Bank Secrecy Act, operating with insufficient asset coverage and operating without an adequate anti-money laundering compliance program, Senator Menendez penned the missive in defense of the Bank and its Chairman and chief Menendez donor Joseph Ginarte. Apparently, $30,000 buys more than a postage stamp in Washington and has earned the Outrage of the Week.

“It’s outrageous that Senator Menendez would rather send letters for big bank donor pals than receive a letter inviting him to debate,” said Kyrillos Campaign Manager Chapin Fay.

“Perhaps what was not in the envelope offended him. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that after taking over $8 million in special interest money, Bob Menendez ain’t fighting for the middle class.”