Parent and taxpayer response

JUST SAY WHEN ...TO ANYONE SAYING YOU HAVE NO SAY IN YOUR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION. We are Citizens for Public School Education. We are Board Watchers. We want a Board of Education that follows the Law, because following the Law works for everyone. The purpose of this site is to help close the controversial Achievement Gap that is the subject in many educational arenas. Teachers are invaluable when dedicated individuals and are entrusted to encourage, nurture, and teach each child to achieve to the best of his/her individual abilities. Principals, Superintendents, Business Administrators, Support Staff, School Board Members, Attorneys and everyone else in the district must be dedicated to making certain that teachers have whatever they need in order to perform at their best. Teachers must be willing to go the extra mile like millions have done before them. This blog promotes an active, accurate & objective telling of history that includes ALL cultures and their literary, cultural and historical contributions to building America. We are Board Watchers.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Who Will Take the Heat for The Failure of The Englewood School System?


When attending school board meetings in Englewood, New Jersey, one must learn to read between the lines.  The Superintendent’s Report is usually a dramatic monologue that accomplishes very little except alienation of the public. The strategy is to waste as much time as possible, then tolerate comments from the public that you address for a few seconds at the next board meeting. For instance, at the July 21, 2011 meeting a very important issue was ignored. Why was Yvonne Sheard speaking as Athletic Director in charge of the Health and Physical Education Department? Does this department even exist?  She is not recognized as an Athletic Director by the state of NJ?  Sheard has a CE principal’s credential. This Credential simply lets one seek employment. Once one is employed the district must apply for and issue a Provisional Certificate that allows one to work while acquiring the standard certificate. It only takes 12 credits to become Supervisor, so what is the hold up? If higher standards are being set for students, expectations must also be set higher for teachers and administrators.  Certifications are minimum basic requirements.
Another thing, if one really cares about the academic achievement of athletes, one will not coerce already academically challenged individuals into playing a sport every season. An athlete should not feel pressured to compete in any other than the sport he/she has a passion. Did not a young man injure himself playing football and had to endure surgery with the fear that he would not be able to compete during track season? He was nearly shut out of the sport that he loves? How much better would he have done academically and in his chosen sports activity had he sat out football season. We will never know if he would have run faster and jumped higher had he focused more on academics and training for his sport of choice?
After the drama is over we get to the parade. A bevy of usually Barbie type females are paraded before the board of education and the public. Most are novice teachers without the permanent standard certifications that are required by state law.
To anyone who normally attends school board meetings, take out a couple of your old agendas and turn to the tabs where new hires are presented to the board of education. Anywhere you see the abbreviations of CE, CEAS or the words Provisional Certificate, you shall understand that that person is NOT fully certificated by the laws of the State of New Jersey.  Student teaching is an invaluable experience that should not be skipped on the way to becoming permanently certificated.  Even former students are beginning to notice the inequity of education in districts that need highly qualified teachers the most.
As parents and taxpayers, the New Jersey Administrative Code should become your friend. It is the vehicle that allows No Child Left Behind to function for the benefit of ALL the students. http://nj.gov/education/code/   Make sure you examine both current rules and proposed rules, because things are changing.
The district must also provide mentoring for all novice teachers. In most townships, this internship has a component that is called the Alternate Route. Some Districts even have an Alternate Route Coordinator. If one checks the BOE agendas, one will find the abbreviations of CE, and CEAS listed beside candidates for employment in the school system. The district has the responsibility to make sure that each teacher or administrator fulfills state requirements for certification.
Equity - It should be noted that on the July 21, 2011 agenda, a candidate for the job of principal of Janis E. Dismus middle school is listed as having a CE principal credential. The salary listed is more than veteran, certificated, highly qualified principals with nearly 20 years in the district are making. The school this person lead had less than 100 students.  This type of hiring serves to undermine veteran administrators already in the district.  No Child Left Behind gives parents the right to question and demand action in cases where teachers or administrators do not have the required certificates. These certifications cannot be arbitrarily handed over by local school board members or by Superintendents who also hold CE credentials.  
Authority - It is not within the power of the Board of Education to bestow permanent certifications upon personnel as if knighting a nobleman in the feudal times of History. Our Athletic Director may not legally observe and evaluate any instructional staff without the required certifications. This means that the person we are calling an AD cannot by law run the Department of Health and Physical Education. The board president is NOT empowered to give her this power. At the moment she is a glorified scheduler of athletic events and activities. She does not have a staff and does not warrant an assistant. Children of the AD’s cheering squad will benefit more from a fully certificated, highly qualified Athletic Director.  Help your children. Advise your friends to become fully certificated. Do you think it is okay for your child to be shortchanged in the classroom as long as it is done by a friend of yours?
A person with a Bachelor’s in Business cannot just begin to teach the Culinary Arts without proper certification in that area. The same goes for dance, drama, music, visual arts, social studies, Math, etc. Teachers must be certified within the subjects they teach. Parents and community members must become more aware of whom they entrust the education of the Village children.
Accountability - To make matters worse, a Director of Curriculum and Instruction has been appointed and is being called 3rd in command of the school district. We must point out here that we do not have a 2nd or 1st in command as of yet, since Dr. Carlisle’s contract has not been approved by the state. The person in charge of all Title I, Title II, Title III, and No Child Left Behind grant implementation does not have the proper certification and has been in the district nearly 10 years. Do we now know why there are no Title I Reading or Math classes? Do we know why there is no curriculum in the Englewood school district? Is there instruction? How many children do you think are being left behind? Look beneath the smoke people. Non-compliance with state codes and certification requirements short changes all of the children.
Motives of this writer – It was recently suggested that I had persons in mind to take the jobs that I insist should not be filled entirely with Barbie type white women. It should be made clear at this moment that I do not have any personal relationships with any staff members. I do not have any friends waiting to apply for positions in the Englewood School District. My professional acquaintances avoid Englewood like the plague. Englewood is famous for not having a curriculum, which means that there is no already established map of curriculum. My concerns are with the students. They deserve the best quality certificated teachers and administrators available. New teachers click here for specific instructions on how to enter the Alternate Route Program.
CE:  Certificate of Eligibility - (CE) means a credential with lifetime validity issued to persons who have completed degree, academic study and applicable test requirements for certification. The CE permits the applicant to seek and accept employment in positions requiring certification.

CEAS: Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing - means a credential with lifetime validity issued to persons who have completed degree, academic study, applicable test requirements and traditional professional preparation programs for certification. The CEAS permits the applicant to seek and accept employment in positions requiring certification.

Provisional Certificate - means a two-year certificate issued to candidates who have met the requirements for initial employment but who have not yet met the requirements for standard certification. Provisional certificates are issued to newly-employed instructional, administrator, and educational services staff who are employed as part of a State-approved district training program or residency leading to standard certification. Provisional certificates are also issued to initially-employed educational  services staff who have at least one year, but less than three years, of successful full time experience or the equivalent in another state under that state’s standard certificates.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Up To $55 million in School Improvement Grant Funds To Help Improve Nine Low Performing Schools

Trenton, NJ – Acting Education Commissioner Christopher D. Cerf announced today the selection of nine low-performing schools that will be eligible for up to $55 million in federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) dollars. These funds are in addition to more than $850 million that Governor Christie added to district budgets across the state this year. These nine schools will each implement a federally-approved school improvement model. Final award amounts will be negotiated and announced in August

Information is Key
At the risk of sounding redundant. The New Jersey Department of Education's official Web site is the gateway to NJ information and services for parents, educators, students, teachers, superintendents, businesses and other taxpaying public. ...
It has the information we ALL need to battle bullying, poor teachers, poor administrators, poor board members, and poor government involvement in education in a righteous effort to uphold the constitution of the state of NJ and of the United States of America..



Please visit often and spend more time there. And yes, I'm so glad to be an American.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Are Our Schools In Crisis?: Putting It On the Line

"While there has been a litigation movement aimed at integrating the schools, there never has been a Civil Rights Movement around the issue of public education in this nation. We have struggled and died for equal toilets and lunch counters, the right to sit where we want on public conveyances and the right to vote, but never have we put it all on the line for the right of our children to be humanely and decently educated." 
Rose Sanders
http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/care.html

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Does the District have a Highly Qualified Athletic Director?

Yvonne Sheard, AD
The New Jersey Administrative Code
The supervisor endorsement is required for both supervisors of instruction and
athletic directors who do not hold a standard principal’s endorsement. The
supervisor shall be defined as any school officer who is charged with authority
and responsibility for the continuing direction and guidance of the work of
instructional personnel. This endorsement also authorizes appointment as an
assistant superintendent in charge of curriculum and/or instruction.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

All Public NJ Employees must now live in New Jersey

For Your Information...Just doing my part as a member of  the Village.

S-1703/A-2478 is a bill which requires all new public employees in New Jersey to live in the state of New Jersey. An Act concerning residency requirements for public officers and employees and amending R.S.52:14-7. http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/PL11/70_.HTM

  
NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, DIVISION OF FINANCE
2011-2012 PROJECTED SFRA REVISED TOTAL K-12 STATE SCHOOL AID http://www.state.nj.us/educati​on/stateaid/1112/district.pdf

NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, DIVISION OF FINANCE
PROJECTED 2011-12 PRESCHOOL EDUCATION AID

‎2010-11 Special Education Extraordinary Aid
http://www.state.nj.us/educati​on/stateaid/1112/specialed.pdf



 
How are the children?
Battleground:Education - Who's 'The Decider' for Public Schools? http://bigthink.com/ideas/39350

School Politics: Who Speaks for the Children? http://bigthink.com/ideas/39064

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Governor Christie's Reorganization of the NJ State Department of Education

Department of Education Adopts New Organization Structure
Signaling Focus on Comprehensive Reform

NEW JERSEY STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
The New Jersey State Board of Education has 13 members who are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the New Jersey State Senate. These members serve without compensation for six-year terms. By law, at least three members of the State Board must be women, and no two members may be appointed from the same county

New Jersey State Board of Education Agenda

Office of the Commissioner, Acting Commissioner Cerf
The Commissioner of Education is the chief executive school officer of New Jersey and supervises all public schools. The Commissioner also has the following responsibilities:
http://www.state.nj.us/education/genfo/overview/commiss.htm
  • serves as secretary to the State Board of Education;
  • develops code proposals for state board discussion and consideration;
  • apportions state aid to local districts;
  • administers regulations for classifying students with disabilities;
  • ensures that local districts adhere to all legal and state board requirements relating to school district operation; and conducts statewide tests.
NJ Department of Education Organization Strategy
Page One 
Page Two
Page Three

Old Does not Mean Dead, Unresponsive, Out of Touch or Unintelligent

For several months now, there have been rumblings about how someone should replace the 4th Ward Councilman here in Englewood.  It has been suggested that he is too old and out of touch. That was a concern, since the upper eschelon of the school officials, namely our almost Superintendent suggested that we retired teachers should keep our opinions to ourselves and leave the schools to the young. Is there now a trend of discarding the veterans, their knowledge, experiences and history?

Last night, I attended my first council meeting. Our main concern was that Englewood officials, for both the city and the schools may be squandering our tax dollars. We have been encouraging others to get involved in the school board and in the town so we took our own advice since the meeting did not conflict with a school board meeting.

We were warned of the dire budgetary circumstances that the City of Englewood faces. Translation, get ready for a property tax increase. This was made even more poignant when a Real Estate Resident pointed out that we at the bottom of the hill were assessed more of a percentage on our property taxes than the well to do folks up on the hill who own houses worth much more than our modest homes.

Ordinances were posted on the overhead that say nothing to the lay person except that the activity will cost X amount of tax dollars. It was calming to realize that others felt the same way. That is, that items should also be written in lay language so anyone may understand. The Mayor reminded us several times that he is Mayor and in control of the planning committee. (that also sounded familiar) Several Council People rambled on about pensions, salaries, and the deficit. Going through this writer's mind was why are we steadily spending and borrowing, spending, borrowing and hiring if we are in such dire circumstances financially.

One resident asked that the plaque at right that is located on the deterioating Lincoln School could be saved. I was concerned about the same thing months ago when I did a walking tour of the school buildings, taking note of how enormous the new additions have made the elementary schools. It makes one wonder why the authors of the "Master Plan" did not think of removing this cornerstone and incorporating it into the structure that is now the Grieco school since this school replaced Lincoln. I agree with the resident that suggested that this cornerstone on the corner of Lincoln school facing Englewood Ave and William Street should be saved and placed someplace where people may see these wise words. More people should take heed to the words engraved there.

It was not until the oldest, most experienced Council person spoke that any sense was brought to the proceedings. It was obvious that the wise old man knew what he was talking about. The body language of the entire Council changed as he spoke revealing what they had failed to address in their ramblimgs. He called himself a fiscal person and made specific comments about budget and hiring that were very easily understood. There was applause when he finished speaking. Not one of the others got the same response from the public.  It  makes one curious as to why so many folks want to see him leave his seat as 4th ward Councilman. He is the voice of reason on this council and a voice that is missing from the school board. That old man has probably forgotten more than those young ramblers will ever know. The 4th ward would be in a horrible mess without his voice. He may have his seat as long as he can speak.

Monday, July 18, 2011

When will the Whistle Blow in Englewood?

So how many Children ARE being left behind in your town...? Is it time for parents to begin asking questions of their children's school districts? Questions like:
  • How many different classifications of special education exist in Pre k - and Kindergarten?
  • How does Gardner's learning styles apply to such a variety of differences?
  • What teacher on the planet is prepared to deal with such a diverse group of learning disabilities and learning styles in the same classroom?
  • What is being done for children who do not read and write by first grade?
  • What are students missing who take Mandarin in grades pre k - K, grades 1- 3 and grades 4 - 6?
  • Was the effectiveness of Mandarin assessed before the plan to go ahead and implement in all grades?
  • How many English Language Learning students are reading and writing in English before 2nd grade?
  • Why are so many parents avoiding the public schools in the Elementary grades?
  • Why is pre-kindergarten not available for ALL Englewood children, especially since we have been designated a school system in need of improvement?
  • Why is the board of education (of which not one has experience in public school education) making such critical decisions about curriculum with little or no teacher or principal input?
  • Why do Englewood Educators walk on eggshells?
In Atlanta, Georgia:
"Administrators — pressured to maintain high scores under the federal No Child Left Behind law — punished or fired those who reported anything amiss and created a culture of "fear, intimidation and retaliation," according to the report released earlier this month, two years after officials noticed a suspicious spike in some scores."
Everyone who thinks this only exists in Atlanta, please sit down immediately. You have a lot to learn. It sounds very familiar and close to home to  those of us who have been paying attention. There must be more accountability on the part of the parents, teachers, and principals. How well does your child read and write? Regardless of what anyone says Literacy is the key. Indifference has no place in the field of Education. If one is not helping, then one is hindering. School personnel must begin to join together for the sake of children and not just for the sake of salaries.

Will easing test pressure save kids?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/easing-test-pressure-wont-save-kids/2011/07/15/gIQAWGQSKI_story.html

We do not have Title 1 Reading and Math in our town, yet we are a failing district. Are Mandarin, Dual Language, Avid, AcademyPrep and Small Learning Communities clouds of smoke being pumped up our proverbial butts while our children are failing basic skills tests given in English?

We attended a Public Hearing of Governor Christie's Education Transformation Task Force on Tuesday, July 12 at Seton Hall University. We are not the only ones concerned about the learning taking place in the developmental years of our children. http://www.state.nj.us/education/news/2011/0707hear.htm

There is still time to get  your voices heard. We encourage you all to use this email address and do just that.

Or write:
Education Transformation Task Force
c/o Department of Education,
100 Riverview Plaza
PO Box 500, Trenton, NJ 08625


Business is booming.  Grants are rolling in. Facilities are rented on Sundays and whenever empty, but are not available to your children for a basketball game. Folks are smiling, shuffling and keeping time, but how are the children?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Real Estate vs. Education

How is it that The Englewood Board of Education just built one brand new building(Grieco), created a gigantic complex out of another (McCloud), added a new wing to another (Quarles) and still did not build a place to house central office? Where is the intelligence behind that bit of business?
Exactly why is it that we do not have a building available to
house our board of education?
(photo courtesy of Kenneth Walton)
How is it that they have sold 2 school buildings, but still do not have enough space to house itself? The word on the street is that Mr. Hunkin has performed his duties so well that the stadium is being renovated into a complex with a state of the art office to house his many activities. Exactly what activities are those since we outsource custodians? Does this man have a workforce that reports to him? To whom does he report? It seems he reports directly to a board member. How weird is that?

Just how effective will Central office be when it is no longer central and it's pieces are spread all over the City?  Folks, we have enough of a mess already. Are you trying to see just how much stuff you can mess up at once? Is this the real reason you are allowing the Cowboy to move his office into our high school?

Where o' where is the money going that is collected from facilities rental? Seems like enough to fund, lets say, the After School Program. Oh, perish the thought. That might actually help somebody. It will be very interesting to see what is done with the money just allocated by Christie.
We see you.

Business is booming, Grants are rolling in, Facilities are rented on the regular, Folks are smiling, shuffling and keeping time, but how are the children?

The Englewood Way...

                     ENGLEWOOD TODAY                        HAVE YOUR SAY, THAT'S THE ENGLEWOOD WAY

1) Fees for the towns pool memberships have tripled. That increase was decided at the city council meetings. (From NJ.com)
  • Individual swim club memberships in Englewood are increasing from $15 to $55.
  • Family memberships are jumping from $60 to $220, more than a 250 percent hike.
2) Many of our young people are not working this summer and are walking the streets. At least 80% of our kids should be working, attending summer courses or camps. There's a 9th grade enrichment program going on right now but what happened to classes/workshops for grades 10-12?
 
2) At the last school board meeting, Donald Carlisle (Superintendent - with no signed contract) threatened that he was going to outsource the school districts nursing staff. Carlisle was angry that the school nurses spoke out of turn at a prior board meeting asking for summer jobs in front of the general public. Basically, he was trying to scare them for speaking out in public. So what was the district saying about bullying? It starts at the top and trickles down.
 
3) Peter Elbert, former middle school principal who was removed from Janis E. Dismus Middle School for failing test scores for 5 consecutive years has been chosen by the new superintendent of schools, Donald Carlisle, to become the principal for the same children he failed now at Dwight Morrow High School. He seems like a nice man and the kids like him but what does that have to do with their education? They're failing on the statewide tests. Which means that they can not compete successfully for jobs, college scholarships, internships, etc. Does anyone even care that this means their children will have been screwed over twice? Militeer is being kicked to the curb to make room for Elbert. The same way that Joe Bell was almost kicked to the curb to make room for Elbert when NJ state mandated that he be moved out of the middle school. Joe was saved because the parents came out and spoke against it. Why does our superintendent and board think Elbert is more impressive than Militeer or Bell?
 
4) Our district has a Mandarin language program (yes, spoken in China). We received a grant for the program. Three members of the board, Shirley Smith, Glenn Garrison and Stephen Brown are going to China. Only a small portion of the cost will come from Englewood's budget, about $1K per person. That's not much money really, except that it should be spent to send three children in the Mandarin program and one parent per child to China. Isn't that what immersion is about? Why aren't the children in the program going on the trip instead of the Board Members getting a free trip on our dollar. Seriously? Who does that?
 
5) The Eagle Academy, the alternative school in Englewood is where kids that disrupt learning in some way, shape or form are sent indefinitely. It seems that it's also where our teachers and principals are sent when they anger someone on the Board of Education or Administration. But that's not such a bad thing, because that means that there is good leadership and educators like Joe Bell, Jamila Scott, Malva Wise-White. They're a blessing to our kids at the Alternative School. I've heard that one of our best and brightest, Wayne Stackhouse (excellent math teacher from Dismus), has been exiled to the Alternative program for this coming fall. What do all of those people have in common. Brains, backbone, balanced? What else? And by the way, the ages for inductees of the Alternative School have been lowered to allow 7th and 8th graders to be placed there. Low self esteem can land your child there. That's one of the criteria for admittance. Wow.
 
Keep an eye on the hiring that's going on in your town and school district. Have your say and make your suggestions. Attend the city council and school board meetings. We can make sure that our schools do better, that our town does better. Go to www.espd.org, www.cityofenglewood.org and http://plumwalk2-justsaywhen.blogspot.com, for more information on Englewood, meeting schedules and what's going on in town.
 
Read - Learn about Englewood and what's going on in your town
'Worst economic recession' says Englewood mayor about city's financial situation
Englewood finance report make dire prediction
Passow: Hall of fame basketball coach, Gerald Akridge, deserves better
Englewood Schools May Expand Chinese Language Studies
Englewood To Hike Swim Membership Fees
To have your say, email me your suggestions, comments, questions and news. Please feel free to forward this email to all of your neighbors and friends in Englewood. We can make Englewood a better place to live.
 
Donna Sumler

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Are Our Schools In Crisis?: Do we have a Chief School Administrator or not?

...And what did we have to give up in order to hire him? Does our Board of Education understand what the process is when hiring persons with a Certificate of Eligibility? (Carlisle has a CE) Rumors are that the state has told our board that if we want to pay him more than CAP that we must give up some State Aid that generally goes for pupil services. In this town, that is not so unthinkable. We are a failing district that accepts Title I funds, but we do  not provide much needed title I Reading and Math classes to students that obviously need them. That is the main reason we are a failing district. So what else is new?

Our almost Chief School
Administrator called me an
Arm Chair Quarterback,
because I maintain
this blog and I speak up for all
of the children.  If exposing
corruption and indifference in
a sick, and festering educational
system makes me that,
then so be it. And my chair
is also pink.
Pardon me, but I agree with our Governor on the point that Superintendents make far too much money. They are grossly overrated and overpaid. Unless they are terrible micromanagers they have a workforce of some pretty powerful and well educated people who really keep the ship afloat. They take 10 minutes to access who will not oppose anything they have in mind. Those folks who do a lot of kissing up for whatever reason have job security. Those who dare to have an opposing opinion or an original thought that was NOT given to them by the person in power suffers. An insecure Superintendent quickly emasculates anyone who has the credentials to do the job that he has landed. It has just happened in this town. Decisons were made that had absolutely nothing to do with children or education.
I noticed on the last Board Agenda that only 1 person was listed as highly qualified. I am hoping against hope that this was a joke of some sort. This one person was nearly fired outright. Teachers and students showed up at board meetings to support him, but he was still moved out of a building that desperately needs not only him, but more men like him. In my old district, I was one of the people assigned to make sure the people in my department were highly qualified. It was not a hard job. Those who were not were quickly moved to jobs they were qualified to do and others went back to school to earn the needed credits. The District complied. What is Englewood doing? Do we have the largest number of unqualified teachers on the planet or is someone blowing smoke in our eyes?

Don't be confused by the term higly qualified. All it means is that the teacher is certified to teach in the area in which they are employed. Points are given to those who have worked successfully in an area for so many years, points are given for workshops, classes etc. People, that is not a difficult concept. No Child Left Behind was created to HELP parents. Don't get it twisted. EVERY teacher should be HIGHLY QUALIFIED. If they are not NCLB gives you the right as parents to protest that person teaching your children. That is as it should be. So how many teachers in Englewood are NOT highly qualified? I want an answer to that question.

Lately, I am getting the impression that there is a movement to dumb down NCLB. Dumb down to what? Districts like Englewood have ignored the tenets of NCLB anyway. They give lip service to it. They lead parents to think it is a bad thing only because they don't want them to examine what it really is. Take care Arne Duncan and others who are looking to make things more comfortable for school districts who complain about NCLB. They were probably NOT going to abide by its tenets anyway.

Sometimes Superintendents arrive in town with an entirely different workforce than the one already in place. What do you do with the people who are already working hard to keep the schools afloat? Some people are so full of themselves that they make unrealistic demands on Boards of Education having to do with deals under the table. They bargain for complete control of hiring and decision making. They take the Board on Retreats with the express objective of training them to be a more amicable body of policy makers. "Just let  me do what I want." They make announcements in public that suggest that the public should stay out of the business of the school board. They suggest that the New Jersey School Board Association training is not needed. Rest assured, it is needed. If for no other reason than to let Board Members know for sure when they are breaking the rules and deceiving the public whom they have sworn to serve.

Since I have become more involved, I have read a lot about the relationship of Boards of Education and Superintendents. It is very interesting that the board is expected to give the Superintendent objectives that he/she is expected to accomplish. Okay, so who gives the objectives to the Board? What if the Board is so involved in it's own agenda that they have no idea what an objective is? What if the Board of Education as a whole has no clue as to what makes a good school system? What if they have no idea and do not even look for examples of best practices in the surrounding towns that have been more successful in producing high achieving students? What if the Board has demonstrated that they only care about a small percentage of students (their children and the children of their friends and neighbors) that have been separated out from the herd? Are we really proposing to lift the rules that make these people pretend to care?


Business is booming, Grants are rolling in, Facilities are rented on Sundays, Folks are smiling, shuffling and keeping time, but how are the children?

Friday, July 8, 2011

ATTENTION! ATTENTION!: Beware of the Grant Junkies

Across the country states are deciding to tie pupil progress on standardized tests and overall achievement to teacher tenure and salary. In New Jersey a Task Force was created to research how this might be done in the NJ schools. This Task Force was discussed in an earlier post where I questioned the efficacy of the idea. Governor Christie has established a program that will award 1.1 million dollars to 9 school districts selected to pilot the program. That is roughly $100,000.00 per district selected. If you are anything like this author you are wondering how this will affect the school district that is poorly run and failing miserably. You are also wondering how an administration that has been documented demonstrating terrible bullying attitudes may be trusted with such an important assignment.
We fight for everyone's grandchildren.
Oh no, not another program that uses our children as guinea pigs! What ever happened to schools being a safe, welcoming place for children? This town does not need less State mandates. Several Doctoral theses have been written on how this town's Board has demonstrated a history of deceiving and ignoring state recommendations without repraisal from the state department. It would be a fearsome thing to give this Board and this almost Superintendent more unsupervised power. The state hopes that Educators from pilot districts will be fully engaged in the program and will receive ample training. Englewood has a way of perverting programs that have proven successful in other towns into a poor, ineffective replica of the real thing. The AVID program is a fine example. A program designed to lift underachievers is actually being used to segregate students that have been tracked since they entered school. When parents complain, their children are removed. Who will watch the watchers? Who will evaluate the evaluators?
The up side of this initiative is that the State Department wants to know what you and I think about the idea. The Governor’s Education Transformation Task Force will hold two public hearings next week to solicit input for its review of the state’s education regulations. All members of the public are welcome to attend. Before attending, please follow the links below to increase your knowlege of the idea prior to attending.
Monday, July 11, 3:30pm, Pittsgrove Municipal Building, 989 Centerton Road, Pittsgrove, NJ
Tuesday, July 12, 3:30pm, Seton Hall University, McNulty Hall, Amphitheater SC101, 400 South Orange Avenue, South Orange, NJ.
Description: Excellent Educators for New Jersey (EE4NJ) is an initiative to pilot a new teacher evaluation system in several LEAs in the 2011-2012 school year. Governor Christie established the Education Effectiveness Task Force through a September 28, 2010 Executive Order. Nine members, with experience in and knowledge of education policy, administration, and teaching, were selected on October 28, 2010.
Link to the New Jersey Educator Effectiveness Task Force Interim Report
Read this report carefully.   Something like it  may be coming to your school district.

Link to Grant announcement of the Pilot program. Christie Administration Announces $1.1 Million Competitive Grant Encouraging School Districts to Participate in Teacher Evaluation Pilot Program. Pilot System Drives Districts and Educators to Innovate and Improve
http://www.state.nj.us/education/news/2011/0621eval.htm

Link to the announcement and invitation. The Task Force also welcomes input on a next-generation accountability system for districts and schools that demands results while encouraging innovative approaches to improving student learning
http://www.state.nj.us/education/news/2011/0707hear.htm
After examining the above information, use the email address below to express your opinions and or attend the public hearings listed above.

"We know that business is booming, facilities are beautiful, and profits are high, but how are the children?"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Are Our Schools In Crisis?: What is Your 2011 Graduate Prepared to Do Now?

Parents! Where do you stand? How do you rate your child's readiness for dealing with college, a trade school, employment or other post high school experience?

The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, is a study conducted by Harris Interactive, each year since 1984. It explores teacher’s opinions and brings them to the attention of educators, policy makers and the public. The Survey findings also inform MetLife Foundation’s support for education.

The study shares the views of public, middle and high school teachers, students,  parents, and Fortune 1000 business executives about the priority that all students graduate from high school prepared for college and careers. It offers opinions on what being college- and career-ready entails, and the implications of this goal for teaching. Compare reports from the past to those of today.

The study contains some very interesting, though not surprising insights into student preparedness at high school graduation.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Are Our Schools In Crisis?: Summer Board Meetings are Important!

It was decided at the June 28th board meeting that the meetings scheduled for July would be held at Grieco Elementary School

Just because it is summer time doesn't mean that the fight has ended. There is no vacation when your child's future is on the line.  Show you care. Attend the summer board meetings. Let this Board of Ed. and this Superintendent know that you care and that you are watching.

Wednesday, July 13
Board of Education Special Meeting
7:00 PM
Executive Session, to discuss items permitted under the Open Public Meetings Act

Thursday, July 21
Board of Education Meeting
Closed session: 6:30 PM
Open session: 8:00
Grieco Elementary School

Thursday, August 18
Board of Education Meeting
Closed session: 6:30 PM
Open session: 8:00 PM
Grieco Elementary School
Durie Ave. across the street from the stadium