For those of you in the rest of the country, other than the drought areas in California, you might not understand, or be cognizant of the massive amounts of snow that we in the Northeast have beheld. Not only does the snow come down in buckets, but the temperatures are mostly in single digits or below with the wind doing its part to encourage me to wear long winter underwear.

For some of the time Carol and I have been barricaded in our home with our three pussycats. The cats do not seem to mind all of the bad weather outside. They are just happy to have us around to feed them, pat them and clean up after them, if they happen to barf. That’s mostly what they do, when we are around. They are now banned from our bedroom because of my seeming allergies.

In our little condo, about 20 units, we have budgeted a certain amount of snow for removal. We are now so over budget that we can’t see what lies ahead for us moneywise. Our association is very frugal, but it cannot be frugal enough not to let us out of our streets. For most of our inhabitants, going to work is a necessity. So we call our snow removal crew and they come when they can and do their job.

When we get up in the morning, we causally put our fingers into the blinds to so how high things have piled up during the night. We also look at the thermometer carefully placed between the 7th and 8th blind. If it looks like it is a single digit, we turn on the TV. to see about school closings. Since that used to be my job, I thank heavens that I don’t have to get up at three in the morning to ride the roads. That is a job for a much younger person.

If it turns out to be a normal kind of day, we do our ablutions and go to the various meetings or jobs that we have accumulated. Carol is a volunteer at the state museum and is now and expert on the history of anthracite. Please don’t ask her how that happened. She is now osmosing into farm animals. She deals with little children, reads them stories if they are preschool.

I, on the other hand, go into the capitol or attend meetings of educational organizations to see how we can affect the governor’s new budget proposal. This next week, I will be visiting a newspaper to meet with their editorial board (with other heads of organizations), to explain or positions on various educational matters. I notice that the heads of these organizations seem to be getting older. I am now not offended when a 35 year old woman calls me grandpa.

There are also nighttime events. This past week we were on the Pennsylvania Cable Network, blathering on about school funding and fielding questions from phone calls. Some of the phone calls are interesting. Some are just silly. I am not sure what I know about the Fish and Game Commission, but someone did ask it of us.

This next week will see more snow, and I am growing weary of staying in bed too long.



ImageGutenberg’s printing press put a whole new cast to how things were transmitted to people across the globe. It was now possible to spread ideas by something more than word of mouth. The bibles created by Gutenberg and those that followed led directly to a revolution in the Catholic Church, as well as the establishment of the Protestant denominations.

Luther had no idea when he posted his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church that he would be starting a revolution. He was just dissatisfied with how the church was handling certain things, as well as the dispensing of “indulgences” (tickets) to heaven if you donated to the church. It appears that Zanzibar Cardoza was one of the first to notice that this printing thing could have worldwide (Europe in his mind) implications.

We hear of him through many reformers and establishers of Protestant movements. During John Calvin’s lifetime, in Geneva and Strasbourg, it appears that Cardoza was his body guard and defender of the faith. It is certain that Cardoza started off as a practicing Roman Catholic, but not a great church attender or follower of many of the church’s precepts. In a polemic written by Calvin, he uses Cardoza as an example of the kind of religiosity that pre-Renaissance people practiced.

Calvin (Cauvin) was constantly in danger for his life. Cardoza spent most of Calvin’s later life arranging for protection. Since Calvin was really French, he was not accepted in some parts of Switzerland. He would commute, in his lifetime, between Strasbourg and Geneva, depending on who was in charge. It is probable that Cardoza went with him each time Calvin moved. In this scenario, Cardoza must have spoken both French and the Swiss version of German, as well as Spanish and Basque.

Cardoza was also involved with the Huguenots, the Protestant French, who were eventually done away with by the armies of the King of France.



There is no real evidence to certify that Cardoza was born in the Basque country between Spain and France. In reality, there really is no proof that he actually existed at all. The stories of his exploits have come down to us as an oral tradition. I may be the first person to try and chronicle some of the events in his life. I make no claim that any of what I am going to say bears any relation to the truth.

The history of this wondrous character seems to begin in Spain right after Columbus sailed to the new world. There are documents that I have seen in a museum in Cadiz that imply that Cardoza had something to do with raising funds for Columbus’ trip. The fairy tale that Queen Isabella hocked her jewels to fund the operation is just so much balderdash.

Although Columbus probably asked Isabella and Ferdinand, they had too many problems of their own combing Aragon and Castile into one unity, to bother with helping this nutty seaman. The documents that I read had to do with payment upon return to Spain. There was a kind of I.O.U. from Christoforo Columbo to one Senor Zanzibar Cardoza Morales, that would come due when treasures would accompany the Pinta the Nina and the Santa Maria’s return to Spain. It is quite clear that Cardoza was going to get mucho dinero from this investment.

From 1492 onward, I cannot find any information about Cardoza. There are many stories that he was a mercenary in many wars at that time. Somehow he was involved in the crises that arose from the establishment of the Protestant religions just after Martin Luther created his disturbance. Cardoza seemed to sell his services to whatever side paid him the most money.

One of the difficulties of putting all of this together is that Cardoza’s legend extends over a number of centuries. It is certainly impossible to believe that he lived such a long a fruitful life beyond mortal longevity. If any of the stories that are told, that begin in 1492 and continue to the end of the 18th century, Cardoza was immortal, a vampire, or there were countless Cardozas (as with the dread pirate Roberts).

Zanzibar is not a Basque name. I am not even sure how the name came to be in the Basque country. There are a number of Z names for boys, but none close to Zanzibar. I am not even sure that Zanzibar was the name of the part of the African continent at that time. Safe to say that the legend is pretty clear and that was his name in 1492.


                                                   EDUCATIONAL PANACEAS

I have been collecting these for a number of years. Each time a new administration appears at the state or federal level, we have a new panacea. Many of these programs are not worth the paper that they are printed on. However, there are a few that do work. However, when the new administration comes in, a whole new set of panaceas appears. Do you wonder why school people are skeptical about modernity?

Educational Panaceas

Madeline Hunter

Charter Schools

Teacher Expectation for Students


ISO 9000

Business Model


Portfolio   Assessment

Authentic   Assessment

Value   Added Assessment

Multi-Cultural   Education


A Nation   At Risk

The Conant   Report

The Sandia   Study

Performance   Objectives

Standards-Based   Education

Essential   Schools

Block   Scheduling

Writing to   Read

Whole   Language

Character   Education

Structural   Lingustics

New Math

New   Science


Large   Group/Small Group


Peer Coaching

Effective   Schools

Critical   Thinking

Brain   Teaching

Site-Based   Management

Strategic   Planning

Long-Range   Planning

Scope and   Sequence

Cultural   Literacy

Home   Schooling

Cyber   Education


Moral   Education

Assessment   Strategies



Global   Education

Shared   Decision Making

Cognitive   Development

Back to   Basics

Magnet   Schools

Distance   Education



Cooperative   Learning

Service   Learning

Lead   Teacher

Curriculum   Compaction

Channel   One

Intensive Scheduling

Teaching to the Test


Dropout Prevention

Leaning Contracts

Assertive Discipline


Interdisciplinary Design

Learning Centered School

Teacher Empowerment

Instructional Leadership

Teacher Centers

School Based Management

The Empowered Manager

Bilateral Decision Making

Effective Instructional Management

Grass Roots Management

Mentor Teachers

The Copernican Plan

Developmental Model (ODOM)

National Diffusion Network (NDN)

STAR schools

Team Planning

Supplemental Learning Centers

Flexible Scheduling

Modular Scheduling

Core Curriculum

Collaborative Teaching


Clinical Supervision

Interactive Analysis

Paideia Proposal

Teacher Assisting and Coaching

Writing Across the Curriculum

Intergenerational Education

BSCS Biology


Competency Based Education

Career Education

Statewide School Reform

Kitchen Science

Gifted Education

Instructional Support Teams


Logical consequences discipline

Human Relations Programs

High Stakes Testing

Peer Mentoring

Native Language Instruction



Bilingual Education

Clinical Intervention

Measurement Driven Instruction

Merit Pay

School/Business Partnerships

School to Work

Outcomes Based Education

Teacher Internships in Business

Sex Education

The Carnegie Report


Community Schools

No Child Left Behind

Every School a Good School

Education Quality Assessment






Head Start

Small School Reform


Regional Service Agencies

PVASS (value added)

Keystone Exams


Health Education

Nutrition Education

Outcome-Based Education

Race to the Top

Community Schools


Small High School Movement

Focused Literacy

State Takeovers


Race to the Top

On Line learning

Core Standards

Keystone Exams



Race to the Top

Community Schools

High Stakes Testing




My daughter says that it’s the shoemaker’s elves. My good friend, the school funding expert says that I must have hit a macro. My wife says that I got up in the middle of the night and did it. My son says that it is the genetic trait in our family, mind control. As for me, I am kind of partial to what my son says. He has had some strange experiences in his lifetime. The funny thing is that his son is very interested in this kind of weird stuff.

It all began in a small town in southern Italy. No, that’s Sophia on the Golden Girls. It really started a long time ago in a land far away. I became interested in school funding. I was curious about how money was distributed to school districts. It also puzzled me how certain school districts got more money than others, even when all the variables were the same. I have worked on the horrors of the real estate tax system, tax effort and new ways of distributing money more fairly.

Every so often, I get on my computer, go onto the Department of Education website, grab the newest numbers and try and figure out what it going on. Since I don’t do it all the time, I usually call someone to help me with formulas that I have forgotten. Excel is easy for some, but not for someone who doesn’t use it but a few times a year for research.

So, I called my daughter in law and she was kind enough to spend some time with me and lead me to the land of the enlightened (Excel enlightened that is). I had 6 columns of numbers and a column of school district names and counties that they were in. I did all of my figuring and retreated to the TV. to see a favorite program. All the while I planned to go back to the figures the next day and put them in a more logical and comprehensible order.

I went to sleep that night not giving a thought to what I had to do the next morning. I normally get up at about 7:00 a.m., unless I am lazy and don’t have any meetings that day. This morning I got up and fed the cats, ate a bowl of horrible gluten free cold cereals, scooped some cat poop and headed upstairs to complete my task of the night before.

I sat down at the computer as I am doing right now and opened the icon for the excel file that I was working on the night before. As I opened it, I became aware that it did not look like what I had left the night before. The columns somehow had changed their positions. Actually the positions they were now in were what I planned on doing. Even the font and size of the font were different. How did I know that? I remembered that I had to adjust the width of some of the columns the night before. These columns needed to adjustment.

So there you have it. I do not have any idea of how it was done. Even if I had hit a macro, it would not have done it to my plan. Did I really get up in middle of the night and do the work? I certainly don’t remember doing it. For a while, I thought that Carol had played a trick on me, except for one thing, she does not know how to operate Excel. Was it the shoemaker’s elves? Or, was it some part of the brain that has the capacity to do such things.

As of now, there are no answers that would be acceptable to normal people. I leave the mystery to be solved by someone like Sherlock Holmes.