Apart from the Usual Parties Politic

Politics and education technology mix, in discussion, about as well as baking soda and vinegar but given the groundswell of faction of dubiously enlightened hot air in America, maybe its time to poke the CO2 volcano.

In New Jersey, where I work and live, the current state budget has been frozen  --even public school districts are not receiving the aid they had been promised (and had budgeted against) for the balance of this school year, as reported by the local ABC TV affiliate on February 11, 2010:

"To pay for the reduction in school aid, nearly all of the state's 581 school districts will be forced to dip into their surpluses - money that would otherwise have reduced homeowners' property taxes - and more than 100 districts will lose all state aid for the remainder of the year."

Higher Education, the pond in which my paycheck dollars swim, will be frozen to the tune of $62 million, and there is enough partisan gnashing of teeth about that to chew a $2 steak.

"I fear Gov. Christie’s plan to slash education aid will hurt our children and increase the crushing property tax burden facing our taxpayers, said Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex). “This would especially hit our hard-working middle-class and poor hard amid an ongoing recession.”

Reasonable people who can step back from the brink of loud-mouthed saber-rattling  should be able to see what is going on.  People in charge of the purse strings will make decisions in their best political interests to pursue an economic objective and people who feel the purse strings tighten will do what is in their best interests to prevent the choking-off of their funds.  Each side will tender well-spun reasons that prove that their position is correct and the other side is in league with the devil.  When the fog lifts and the 2 sides have climbed out of their political Purgatory, each will have some slice of the other's flesh and the fundamental causal problem will be sent back to Limbo without a resolution.

One voice that has risen to reject the usual political approach is Dr. William Fabricius, professor of psychology at Arizona State University.  Dr. Fabricius, at www.independentpartynow.org, writes:

"there is an unprecedented level of distrust and disillusionment regarding the current system. At least two aspects of the system are at the root of this distrust: the inability to achieve practical solutions to important problems, and the excessive influence of moneyed special interests."

Dr. Fabricius goes on to write:

"We are committed to finding practical, evidence-based solutions that are in the best interests of the whole country. Our candidates will not take campaign contributions from special interests. The candidates we select will be able to depend on our support and our votes, and will not be threatened by their money. The days when “The banks own the Senate” (Senator Durbin, IL) will be over."

Rather than publish a platform from which to gather like-minded supporters, Dr. Fabricius calls for reasonable and independently thoughtful people to contribute to the building of a party platform and to approach the state and national political quagmire with fresh independent thought.

There have been third party movements in the United States ever since the two-party system was established.  There is already one (and only one) modern third-party that is on the ballot in each state for every national election: that party is so sparingly reported in the media that most people don't know it exists.  Do we need another political party to challenge our nefarious status quo ?

Yes.  And probably much more than that.

Filling the App Gap

On Friday, November 13, WCAU, channel 10 in Philadelphia, came to NJIT to film a news story on iPhone and small device application development at NJIT.  The video linked to the image on the left is the full story that aired on November 20, 2009.
NJIT has announced the formation of an additional class section to supplement the 6th iteration of  iPhone OS Application Development.  The upcoming class sections are open to the public and are partially subsidized by a grant from the North Jersey Partners.
The classes will bring the current active enrollment in the iPhone program to over 60 students.  For more information, please see the course description for the upcoming class.

WIRED into Free Tuition for Future iPhone Developers

Free TrainingHave an idea for an iPhone application but don’t know how to make it happen or can’t afford to take a course?

North Jersey Partners has teamed up with the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) to offer FREE tuition for an online iPhone Application Development course. Taught entirely online by an NJIT instructor, the 10-week course begins on October 19, 2009 and includes the NJIT award of a 3.0 CEU certificate to students upon completion.

The 30-hour online training course teaches computer savvy students the foundation they need to design and implement iPhone and iPod Touch software using the Apple Software Development Kit. They learn how to create and deploy iPhone and iTouch applications on the software simulator and hardware devices. Participants can practice installing their applications and learn the Apple AppStore submission process so their independent developer Apps can potentially be offered by Apple as paid, downloadable commercial software packages. This class also provides enrolled students memberships in the Apple Developer portal.

Those interested in applying via SMS for the free-tuition subsidy for this class can text IPHONE to 35350 and will receive by return text message a link to the application. The application process runs from October 5 - 16, 2009. All applicants must: meet eligibility requirements, have broadband access to the Internet, and have access to a Macintosh computer capable of running the SDK (OS X Leopard 10.5.7 or higher) and an iPhone or iPod Touch.

Fifteen applicants will be selected for the free-tuition subsidy and preference will be given to those unemployed and underemployed in the northern New Jersey region. Applicants not eligible for the tuition subsidy award may still register for the October 19 or November 30th class sections and pay tuition. The schedule of all classes and the course description are available online.

This training program is funded by North Jersey Partners through the U.S. Department of Labor Education and Training Administration’s WIRED initiative.

North Jersey Partners is an innovative regional partnership of public, private and government organizations collaborating to deliver programs, training, and support to ensure the continuity of a skilled workforce to drive economic growth in northern New Jersey. CPE@NJIT, in keeping with its longstanding commitment to provide online education to Graduate and Professional Development students, has provided the instructional resources and the publicly available learning platform to host current and future sections of the iPhone OS training class