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Readers say Ridgewood teachers are unreasonable ,Ridgewood has always been very supportive of teachers and education

Ridgewood EA teachers protest

BOE – stay strong. The teachers are unreasonable. Might not have this opinion if it was a different town but Ridgewood has always been very supportive of teachers and education as illustrated by the pay scale. We just can’t and don’t want to afford to indulge them any more. Note: Rankings are slipping … time to reconsider a lot when it comes to our schools. Some new blood might be a very good thing. Please move on if you are not happy with what our BOE is offering you.

Teachers remain completely unreasonable and are not negotiating with our volunteer BOE in good faith. Time for higher pension contributions, higher copays, and salaries growing less than the 2% property tax cap. It’s time to wake up to the reality faced by all residents of Ridgewood, not just your “la-la fantasy world” union rose tinted glasses greed.

It is time for teachers and there arrogant union leaders to step in to the twenty first century and stop livening as though it was the 1950’s where you did not have great pay and benefits. BOE say no to these people the taxpayer is fed up.

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Reader says The county poaches all the best students for an elite education , time for vouchers for all kids


The county poaches all the best students for an elite education, stripping the local district, charging the sending district and the county taxpayers for the education. If a student and family wants an elite school for their kids, let them pay for it – full boat. Otherwise, vouchers for all kids. It’s a scam the county has played since the late school power broker John Grieco concocted. You may want to notice that they have no mandate to accept any special needs students like the local district – just an observation.

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Why do we still use class rank to select graduation speakers?


Brian Stack

Monday, June 30, 2014

The movement of schools across the country from a traditional to a standards-based or competency-based grading model is calling into question the age-old practice of asking the valedictorian and the salutatorian to be the speakers at graduation.

New Hampshire’s Concord Monitor recently published a story describing how several New Hampshire high schools have already abandoned this model in favor of one that opens up the privilege of being selected as a graduation speaker to a much broader cohort of deserving students.

The practice of calculating class rank is obsolete in today’s educational environment. In a recent Phi Delta Kappan article, University of Kentucky professor and educational reform author Thomas Guskey explains that “Class Rank Weighs Down True Learning.”

Guskey argues that schools must decide whether their intent is to select or develop talent. Selecting talent, he explains, is indicative of poor teaching, because it is achieved when teachers and schools create the greatest possible variation of assessment scores so they can distinguish between students with greater talent from those with less.

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Big Debt, Little Study: What Taxpayers Should Know About College Students’ Time Use


By Lindsey BurkeJamie Bryan Hall and Mary Clare Reim


Lindsey BurkeWill Skillman Fellow in Education
Domestic Policy Studies

Jamie Bryan HallSenior Policy Analyst

Center for Data Analysis

Mary Clare ReimResearch Associate
Domestic Policy Studies

College students understandably bemoan the costs of higher education. During the 2015–2016 school year, annual costs[1] at four-year public universities reached $19,548 for in-state students and $34,031 for out-of-state students. Annual costs at private institutions reached $43,921.[2] Federal student aid has likely exacerbated the college cost problem, providing short-term relief to students in the form of loans and grants, while enabling universities to increase tuition across the board.[3]

There is an additional consequence to taxpayer-subsidized federal student loans. The average full-time college student spends only 2.76 hours per day on all education-related activities. This helps explain why most full-time students today do not graduate in four years and rack up increasingly high loan debt during their extended enrollment. Taxpayers, who are increasingly on the hook for borrower defaults and loan forgiveness programs, deserve to know what their tax dollars subsidize.

Full-Time College Is Typically a Part-Time Endeavor

Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s American Time Use Survey from 2003–2014, during the academic year, the average full-time college student spent only 2.76 hours per day on all education-related activities, including 1.18 hours in class and 1.53 hours of research and homework, for a total of 19.3 hours per week.[4]

Full-time high school students, in comparison, spent 4.32 hours per day on all education-related activities, including 3.42 hours in class and 0.80 hours of research and homework, for a total of 30.2 hours per week. Thus, full-time college students spend 10.9 fewer hours per week on educational activities than full-time high school students.

Employment eliminates this gap between college and high school students.

  • Full-time college students work an average of 16.3 hours per week.
  • Full-time high school students work an average of 4.0 hours per week.

Full-time college students, then, spend 35.6 hours per week on education-related and work-related activities, while full-time high school students spend 34.2 hours per week.

However, full-time college students spend significantly less combined time on education and work than do full-time employees. The average full-time employee works 41.7 hours per week. To match that, the typical college student would need 22.4 work hours per week, in addition to the 19.3 educational hours.

Non-employed full-time college students spend more time per week on educational activities than part-time or full-time employed students.

  • Non-employed and full-time student: 24.9 hours;
  • Employed part-time and full-time student: 19.9; and
  • Employed full-time and full-time student: 8.5.

In combined education and work hours, however, there remains a deficit between non-employed and employed students:

  • Non-employed and full-time student: 25.8 hours;
  • Employed part-time and full-time student: 36.8; and
  • Employed full-time and full-time student: 47.7 hours per week.

The combined education and work effort of the average non-employed, full-time college student (25.8 hours per week) most closely matches that of a non-student, part-time employee (22.9 hours per week), but remains substantially less than that of a high school student (34.0 hours per week) or even a part-time employee, part-time college student (33.8 hours per week).

In order to match the combined work and education effort of the average full-time employee, the average non-employed, full-time college student would need to work 16.9 hours per week, in addition to the 24.9 hours spent on educational activities.

Although expectations undoubtedly vary across institutions and fields of study, on average, full-time college demands substantially less time commitment than do high school or regular full-time employment. 60.5 percent of full-time students and 79.9 percent of part-time students work at least part-time while in school, suggesting many students recognize the merits of minimizing the debt incurred to finance their degrees. However, nearly 40 percent of full-time students do not work at all while in college.

Subsidizing Low Education-Work Efforts

The average 17-year-old, who is generally in high school, spends 31.2 hours per week on education and work activities. For 19-year-olds, total hours per week for education and work activities decrease to 26.0, and do not exceed the efforts of a 17-year-old again until age 23, after the end of the traditional college years. Total hours of education and work activities per week peak at 34.8 among 29-year-olds.

On average, Americans will not work as little as they did at age 19 until they reach age 59, when significant numbers cut back on their work hours or enter retirement. With outstanding student loan debt currently at more than $1.2 trillion, these findings raise an important question: Why are taxpayers heavily subsidizing a period in some people’s lives when combined education and work efforts are at their lowest?

Loan Forgiveness Programs Leave Taxpayers on the Hook for Generous Leisure Hours

Among the 39.5 percent of full-time college students who are not employed, the average time spent engaged in education-related activities (both class and studying) is only 24.9 hours per week, or 3.56 hours per day.

In the context of a student loan system in which students borrowed primarily through private lenders and paid back their loans themselves, evaluation of time use would largely only be an issue for the individual student, who would accrue higher levels of debt the longer it took him to complete college.

Today, however, the federal government originates and manages 93 percent of all student loans, and taxpayers underwrite generous loan forgiveness programs along with the cost of defaulted student loans.[5]

In 2016, 43 percent of individuals with federal student loans (or about 9.3 million borrowers) were either in default, were delinquent, or had postponed payments, owing more than $200 billion.[6] A long and more expensive path to the bachelor’s degree may seem relatively harmless to the individual student, but federal subsidies put taxpayers on the hook for this more expensive route if students default on their debt or enter loan forgiveness. Nationwide, fewer than 19 percent of full-time students attending non-flagship public universities earn a bachelor’s degree within four years; meanwhile, just 36 percent of students attending selective public research-based institutions will earn their degrees within four years.[7]

A study by researchers from Northwestern University suggests that, among other reasons such as lost transfer credits and remedial coursework, “most full-time students do not take the credits necessary to graduate on schedule (15 credits per semester or 30 credits per year), opting instead for lighter course loads that put them on five- and six-year plans.”[8]

Many colleges charge students based on whether a student is full-time or part-time, and in-state or out-of-state, so a full-time student who does not optimize the amount of credits he is taking would spend substantially more over a five- or six-year period in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree than the student who acquires the degree in four years, particularly if the student is paying room and board. The per-credit cost for a full-time student is typically lower than that of a part-time student. Further, at many universities, tuition for a full-time student is a fixed rate that then allows a student to enroll in a chosen number of credit hours, typically ranging from 12 to 18 per semester. With full-time tuition typically set as a flat rate, students minimize their per-credit cost as a full time student the more hours they take. Not maximizing credit hours can translate into considerable additional spending and debt for students. Estimates show that every extra year a student spends at a public four-year college costs an additional $22,826.[9]

Burden of Student Loan Costs on the Shoulders of Taxpayers

Students are accruing more debt to earn a bachelor’s degree, and the burden of loan repayment is increasingly being shifted to taxpayers. Not only do taxpayers bear the burden of defaults, but thanks to an expansion of federal loan forgiveness programs, they are also responsible for an increasing number of student loans that now qualify for forgiveness.[10] In 2015, the Obama Administration promulgated regulations expanding the income-based repayment program, which caps at 10 percent of discretionary income the amount borrowers can be required to repay per month, to all individuals with federal Direct Loans. All borrowers with undergraduate loans also have any remaining debt forgiven after 20 years. For graduates entering public-sector work upon college completion, loans are eligible for forgiveness after just 10 years. Some parent borrowers qualify for loan forgiveness of their Parent PLUS loan after 10 years if they work in the public sector.[11]

Loan forgiveness and repayment caps increase the likelihood that taxpayers will bear responsibility for a portion of students’ extended time taken to earn a degree. Loan forgiveness is bad policy in general, further enabling colleges to increase tuition and fees and shifting the burden of paying for college from the student who benefits from the education they receive to the taxpayers.

The limited amount of time spent engaged in education-related activities on average suggests that, for some students, the amount of debt accumulated finances a significant amount of non-education hours. When loans are forgiven, then, both education and non-education time is financed by taxpayers. Although numerous exogenous factors play into time to degree, such as when courses are offered and the mitigating circumstances of individual students, time-use data suggest that taxpayers end up generously subsidizing the non-education time of many college students.


An examination of the typical college student’s day reveals that the average full-time college student spends only 2.76 hours per day on all education-related activities. With the federal government today originating and managing 93 percent of all student loans, these data add to questions about the type of time use federal assistance is subsidizing. Taxpayers deserve to know.

Lindsey M. Burke is the Will Skillman Fellow in Education Policy in Domestic Policy Studies, of the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity, at The Heritage Foundation. Jamie Bryan Hallis Senior Policy Analyst in the Center for Data Analysis, of the Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity, at The Heritage Foundation. Mary Clare Reim is Research Associate in Education Policy in Domestic Policy Studies.

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Just 37% of U.S. High School Seniors Prepared for College Math and Reading, Test Shows


Results from Nation’s Report Card show slight dip from two years earlier

April 27, 2016 12:01 a.m. ET

Only 37% of American 12th-graders were academically prepared for college math and reading in 2015, a slight dip from two years earlier, according to test scores released Wednesday.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” said that share was down from an estimated 39% in math and 38% in reading in 2013.

Educators and policy makers have long lamented that many seniors get diplomas even though they aren’t ready for college, careers or the military. Those who go to college often burn through financial aid or build debt while taking remedial classes that don’t earn credits toward a degree.

Bill Bushaw, executive director of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the test, said the board was pleased that high school graduation rates were rising, but disappointed in the lack of progress in boosting students’ skills and knowledge.

“These numbers aren’t going the way we want,” he said. “We just have to redouble our efforts to prepare our students to close opportunity gaps.”

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Can We Liberate Our Kids From Traditional Schooling?

Childcare experts caution parents over amount of time their kids spend on tablets

March 31,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The last thing dedicated teachers want to think is that they’re fulfilling all the duties of a babysitter and not much else, says educator Mac Bogert.

“I’m often reminded of Mark Twain’s quote: ‘I never let my schooling interfere with my education,’ ” Bogert says. “Learning is among the most exciting and enjoyable experiences we have in life, yet many students and teachers herded into our school systems view school as something to be endured, as if the school day is one long detention.”

Recent findings illustrate the problem. In 2015, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) showed a decline in math comprehension from fourth- and eighth-graders for the first time since 1990.

“If you want to know how effective schools are, ask a teenager,” Bogert says. “Why do smart kids who enjoy reading and learning find school boring? We don’t need to make people learn, we need to free them to learn.”

Bogert, author of “Learning Chaos: How Disorder Can Save Education,” (, and president of AZA Learning, which encourages an open-learning process for all participants, says our educational system is outdated. He proposes new methods parents can use to resurrect a love of learning from their kids.

• Ban rote learning. When preparing to teach within a traditional framework, we aren’t stimulating a child’s curiosity. Rather, we’re serving the framework of control. This sort of top-down, listen-without-interrupting teaching is limiting and alienates many types of learning personalities. Instead, foster engagement, which means an open environment where kids feel free to participate.
• Encourage children to sound off. Ever see an interesting news discussion on television? If no one is saying what you want to say, you can become frustrated to the point of turning off the conversation. Students who are shy or otherwise discouraged from engaging can shut down in a similar way. But when they’re included and encouraged to participate in a lesson, their minds stay focused. They feel they have a stake in the lesson.
• Take a cue from the Internet. We’re not starved for information; we’re starved for stories, which have lessons embedded within them. Simply sharing a story invites learning. That’s why you should allow a child’s narrative of inquiry to be more democratic than controlled. Allow him or her to pursue a line of thought wherever it may go, rather than controlled, assigned resources.

“Ideally, your child will be a participant within a hotbed of ideas, rather than a passive listener in an intellectually sterile environment,” Bogert says. “That may not always be possible at school, but this kind of encouragement at home will help them later in life.”

About Mac Bogert

Mac Bogert founded AZA Learning to encourage teachers and students to become equal partners in the learning process, which he details in his book “Learning Chaos: How Disorder Can Save Education,” ( He served as education coordinator at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and is still active in the arts for his community.

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Obamanomics: The rise and fall of the American middle class


Blog Editors Note : try increasing taxes, insurance and education costs , coupled with decline of the two parent household  , decline of work ethic, and regulating small business out of existence 

By John Aidan Byrne

December 27, 2015 | 2:34am

Downward mobility is catching on fast with America’s new economic underdogs — the emerging middle-class minority.

The ranks of the American middle class have sunk to a shocking new low.

After four decades as an economic majority, middle-class Americans are no longer in that admirable place. They’re down to 49.9 percent from 61 percent of the population in 1971, with the ranks of the poor and ultrarich growing to a majority in the US.

“The fabric of income distribution is stretching thin,” Rakesh Kochhar, lead author of the recent Pew Research Center study “The American Middle Class Is Losing Ground,” told The Post.

“There’s been a hollowing out in the middle, a bulking up on the edges. The gaps are at record highs,” Kochhar said, adding that the wealth of upper-income families is now about seven times that of the middle class, compared with three times about 30 years ago.

Meanwhile, the middle-class share of US household income has plunged from 62 percent in 1970 to 43 percent today.

And for lower-income families looking to move up to middle-class status, that accomplishment is getting harder to pull off, according to new analysis.

Analysts offer no single explanation for the decline of America’s middle class.

Years of wage stagnation, the decline of unions, a skills gap, economic malaise, taxation, debt and policymaking are often cited, as is technological efficiency in a more globalized economy that rewards outsourcing. Some analysts say the Fed’s trillions of dollars in quantitative easing ended up disproportionately in the hands and wallets of bankers and other upper-middle-class Americans.

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Pope to Parents: You Are Responsible for Educating Your Children


At May 20 audience, he stressed that educating and raising children in the human values that form the “backbone” of a healthy society is a responsibility that each family has.

BY CNA/EWTN NEWS 05/20/2015

VATICAN CITY — In his general audience, Pope Francis spoke of the essential role parents play in educating their children, a role he said has been usurped by so-called experts who have taken the place of parents and rendered them fearful of disciplining their children.

“If family education regains its prominence, many things will change for the better. It’s time for fathers and mothers to return from their exile — they have exiled themselves from educating their children — and slowly reassume their educative role,” the Pope said May 20.

He gave harsh criticism to the “intellectual critics” that he said have “silenced” parents in order to defend younger generations from real or imagined harm, and he lamented how schools now are often more influential than families in shaping the thinking and values of children.

“In our days, the educational partnership is in crisis. It’s broken,” he said, and he named various reasons for this.

“On the one part, there are tensions and distrust between parents and educators; on the other part, there are more and more ‘experts’ who pretend to occupy the role of parents, who are relegated to second place,” he said.

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Mickey and math? Disney launches education apps


Mickey and math? Disney launches education apps


Mickey is getting into math — and science, art, reading and even teaching social skills.

The Walt Disney Co. is launching a new line of learning tools designed to help parents encourage kids 3 to 8 to learn outside of school. Disney Imagicademy begins with a series of mobile apps but will later expand into other products such as books and interactive toys. Over time, the target age will also grow to include older kids.

To start, Disney is launching an iPad app called “Mickey’s Magical Math World” on Thursday, focused on math-based activities such as counting, shapes, logic and sorting. Within the app, there are five add-on activities such as “Minnie’s Robot Count-Along” and “Goofy’s Silly Sorting.” The basic app is free to use, but the enhanced activities cost $4.99 each or $19.99 for all five. Future apps, on subjects ranging from life science using characters from Disney’s “Frozen” to creative arts, will be similarly priced. The apps are ad free, keeping with laws that prevent targeting online advertising at kids under 13.

A companion app for parents lets grown-ups follow along with what their kids are doing even if they are using a separate mobile device. It also suggests a bevy of offline activities, such as creating “rocket racers” using toilet paper tubes, duct tape and balloons, or making a colorful “quilt” out of tissue paper to learn shapes.

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A question of homework: tenafly parents protest the load, joining nationwide trend


A question of homework: tenafly parents protest the load, joining nationwide trend


TENAFLY — Pressured by parents, school district officials are considering lowering the stress of homework with such measures as homework-free nights and vacations, and giving students more information about the demands they will face in choosing courses.

The district also will organize workshops for parents on reducing children’s stress.

The measures are being taken after a group of high school parents confronted the school board, arguing that homework is wreaking havoc on their children’s lives.

Tenafly is just the latest of many districts nationwide trying new approaches amid the high-stakes competition for college that has fueled an intense schedule of testing and nightly homework in local districts.

The parents’ group, Rational Homework Review, says the heavy workload prevents their children from maintaining a healthy lifestyle and getting adequate sleep. They also argue that some assignments lack educational value.

Other school districts statewide, including Ridgewood and Glen Rock, have reexamined homework policies or changed them in recent years to help balance students’ lives. Nationally, an anti-homework backlash has been spurred in part by studies on sleep deprivation among teens, a plethora of books about the homework craze and a documentary called “Race to Nowhere” about students in a pressured educational environment.

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Governor Chris Christie Promises New PARCC Approach


Governor Chris Christie Promises New PARCC Approach
Jul. 01 Chris Christie, Common Core, Education no comments
By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Both sides of the aisle have big problems with Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing, Save Jerseyans, so during an under-reported exchange at last week’s town hall meeting in Haddon Heights, Governor Chris Christie told a teacher participant that he’d pitch a fresh proposal to address those concerns in 7-10 days.

The stakes are growing as the landscape darkens. New Jersey is facing extreme fiscal pressure as another budget fails to meet basic obligations without borrowing, and the Republican 2016 prospect is hoping to roll out a new pension and benefits reform package soon, too, all while presidential speculation and Bridgegate rumors keep Trenton on edge and his Administration off-balance.

What would a new approach to PARCC/Common Core even look like? Here’s what he had to say…

– See more at:

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Assembly Puts Brakes On Common Core


Assembly Puts Brakes On Common Core
Jun. 18 
By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

If I told you that the Democrat-dominated New Jersey Assembly voted 72-4 this week to slow down the pace of Common Core State Standards implementation, Save Jerseyans, you’d probably feel the urge to get your eyes checked. But that’s exactly what happened on Monday. Go figure….

The legislative effort spearheaded by Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex) won a dozen primary sponsors and overwhelming bipartisan support; if it becomes law, the bill would establish a task force to review (not scrap) state participation in the controversial new Common Core standards and the equally controversial the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing.

It’s a step in the right direction, however tiny… and not necessarily for the right reasons…

Key to understanding this story is whom the initiatives manage to offend.

Answer: almost everyone!

– See more at:

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Key to student success lies in the home


Key to student success lies in the home

JUNE 10, 2014, 5:17 PM    LAST UPDATED: TUESDAY, JUNE 10, 2014, 5:17 PM

Christopher de Vinck is the language arts supervisor at Clifton High School in New Jersey. His 13th book is “Moments of Grace” (Paulist Press).

LET’S CREATE a national program called “No Child Left behind,” and flood the schools with standardized tests. Let’s change the name and call it “Race to the Top.” Let’s put kids in uniforms. Let’s increase the school day. Let’s pay teachers less money. Let’s pay teachers more money. Let’s create charter schools. Let’s create schools just for boys. Let’s create schools just for girls. Let’s have kids pray in school. Let’s create common core standards. Let’s blame the college teacher-education programs. Let’s blame the teachers. Let’s blame the parents. Let’s give the governors and the business community the keys to the schools. Let’s flood the schools with technology. Let’s call schools boring. Let’s blame the curriculum.

Don’t you see how foolish we have been? Don’t you see that all of these initiatives are focused on the politics of education and not education? Don’t you realize that none of these attempts has made any difference in the education of children for the past 40 years?

Based on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (the nation’s report card), the average reading scores for 17-year-olds today is not significantly different from the scores in 1971.

For the past 43 years our nation has been dodging the real reasons why our system of education has been stagnant.

– See more at:

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Analyst says politicians who oppose Common Core are being rewarded at the ballot box


Analyst says politicians who oppose Common Core are being rewarded at the ballot box

May 13, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Opposition to Common Core is proving politically beneficial, at least in the states of Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina.’s Tom Blumer writes in his latest blog, “At least a half-dozen victorious candidates in GOP state legislative contests in those three states … discovered that the key to motivating voters on their behalf was expressing genuine and vocal opposition to the federal government’s stealth imposition of the Common Core and testing regime in their schools.”

Blumer cites “a reliable longtime” activist who says Common Core opposition helped four Ohio Republicans win their primary races for the state House of Representatives last Tuesday.

“In the Buckeye State, Common Core polled as the number one issue of concern in the GOP primaries, even ahead of Gov. John Kasich’s authoritarian expansion of Medicaid,” Blumer notes.

The most stunning example of Common Core leading to political success was Tom Brinkman’s seven-point victory over incumbent Peter Stautberg.

“Brinkman’s trump card over the wishy-washy incumbent was his vocal opposition to Common Core,” Blumer writes. “Stautberg claims to have not taken a position (on the nationalized learning standards). My source calls BS on that; but in any event, convenient neutrality doesn’t cut it. It instead allows force-fed ‘Fed ed’ to become a permanent fixture of the educational landscape.”