Amid record-level turnout, New Jersey residents recently voted down 58% of school district’s proposed budgets (and proposed tax increases), reported USA Today on April 21. “Districts on the losing end must now work with municipal officials to craft a funding solution by May 19. Layoffs and other cuts are likely,” it states.
Republican Governor Chris Christie has called for a reduction of $820 million in education funding amid a $10.7 billion deficit, reported Terrence Dopp for Businessweek on April 29.
Amid the pending cuts and layoffs, thousands of students took to the streets in different areas of New Jersey to protest against cuts to education funding.
Predictably, one of academia’s leftist professors championed the “democratic” actions of those students who took to the streets. “If these protests had taken place in China, Russia, or Iran, officials would be celebrating them as an advance for democracy,” argued Hofstra University professor Alan Singer on April 28. “What they fail to realize is that the struggle for democracy is going on right here.”
“And the children shall lead,” he writes on Huffington Post. “They were in the front lines of the Civil Rights movement,” he continues. “They have marched against war, hunger, and child labor.”
“They are the hope and future that President Obama keeps promising.”
“[Princeton University’s] Wilson School professor Richard Keevey said that schooling, to which the state budget currently allocates $11.1 billion, represents the ‘largest single component of the budget,’” wrote Molly Brean for the Daily Princetonian on March 11.
Hofstra’s press room describes Singer as “a professor of secondary education and the director of social studies education.”
“Singer is a former New York City high school social studies teacher and is editor of Social Science Docket, a joint publication of the New York State and New Jersey Councils for the Social Studies,” it states. “He is also the author of Social Studies for Secondary Schools…and editor of a 268-page secondary school curriculum guide, New York and Slavery: Complicity and Resistance.”
His play, “Were the Founding Fathers guilty of treason?” designed for the classroom and published by the Organizations of American Historians Magazine of History in the Fall of 1987, demonstrates Prof. Singer’s personal interpretation of “democracy.”
“I usually use the play and the class deliberations that follow to summarize a unit on Revolutionary America and the United States Constitution,” he writes (pdf) for the version of the play posted on the University website.
“Generally, unless I have a particularly adept actor in the class, I play Thomas Jefferson,” he writes. Jefferson takes the “inquiry,” or prosecution perspective and asks leading questions impugning the motivations of America’s founders.
Professor Singer’s Jefferson asks James Madison in the play, “Aren’t you arguing that the job of government is to endorse economic and class divisions in society and to protect the ability of the few to monopolize the vast wealth of the nation?” He later asks, “Mr. Madison, was the revolutionary rhetoric of the war for Independence all a lie? Did the poor fight to make you their new masters, solely so your wealth could be protected?”
“Some students complain that the court of inquiry isn’t fair because the investigation is not impartial and the Founding Fathers don’t have a lawyer,” writes Prof. Singer. “One group of students appointed themselves as defense attorneys, looked through the Federalist Papers and social studies texts for more favorable quotes, and wrote a new script that presented the Bill of Rights as evidence of good faith by the Founding Fathers.”
“Alan is a self proclaimed marxist/athiest [sic] with a passion for social justice and action,” states an anonymous ratemyprofessors.com review of Prof. Singer. “He facilitates intriguing discussions and is highly respectful of those who see the world differently, as there are not many who see it like Alan. … Best prof at Hofstra.”
“I just don’t understand why i’m [sic] paying $2400 dollars to sit in a graduate education class thats [sic] supposed to be about geography, listening to him give his opinion on the stupidity of religion,” states “isi201” on ratemyprofessors.com.
Prof. Singer’s ratemyprofessors.com ratings are, on average, positive.
“New Jersey high school students are at the forefront of the battle against budget cuts and to save education in the United States,” argues Prof. Singer on Huffingtonpost.com this April. “They understand, what adults, politicians, and government officials don’t get, if you vote down school budgets, lower taxes, and cut school funding you undermine both the economy today and the future viability of the nation.”
Actually, additional funding for education has historically not translated into increased academic proficiency. Similar trends can be seen in this Heritage Foundation comparison of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores and “per-student expenditures in American Public Schools” from 1970 to 2005.
Bethany Stotts is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.