Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Plagiarism: Is "Practice What You Preach" a Dead Concept?

N.J. Department of Education
100 River View Plaza
P.O. Box 500 Trenton, NJ 08625

Governor Chris Christie, Acting Commissioner Cerf:

It has been 4 months since we emailed Mr. Gilmartin a very important document concerning the state of our school district. There have been few changes in our district that may be considered for the better. Dr. Carlisle has NOT been evaluated. He has NOT sat down with the board and created goals and objectives tailored for the Englewood Public School District. Instead of following the instructions given in the QSAC, he simply copied verbatim the goals and objectives of Miller Place and the Brandon School district from 5 years ago. It  is our understanding that he must be evaluated based on whether he has achieved the goals agreed upon by he and the Board of Education. Many of New Jersey’s low achieving students have been lost in that chasm referred to as the Achievement GAP.  

A Governor's TASK FORCE has been created and charged "to provide the State Board and policymakers with recommendations for a statewide strategy to close the academic achievement gap by addressing proven correlatives of poor academic achievement. It will examine the themes of access; culture/climate;expectations; and strategies." We saw that as a ray of hope, because it meant that someone at the State Department was listening or was at the very least, aware. Yet, Dr. Carlisle has seen fit to cut & paste goals & objectives from districts that have no Achievement GAP and very few low achieving students. Our children deserve goals and objectives based on data collected regarding their educational experiences in our school system. The goals of  the Englewood Public School District should not emulate those of some out of the way mostly Caucasian town in New York state.

Miller Place Union Free School District Goals     

Englewood Public School District Goals 2011 - 2012 - presented on January 12,2012

Question:  How can the 5 year old goals of a district that has 91% White students, 2% Black Students, 3% Hispanic students and 3% Asian students have the EXACT SAME GOALS recently presented by Dr. Carlisle to our Board of Education? Examine for yourself the single digit percentages of students performing below standards. (3rd - 9%, 4th - 5%, 5th - 4%, 6th - 3%, 7th - 1%, and 8th - 2%)  Then check out the categories, such as "Improved Communication and Heightened Professionalism"? COPIED VERBATIM! 

It is also evident that the "Improved Student Achievement" goals found in the EPSD document have also been extracted from this same set of goals.  Two of Miller Place Union Free School District's 5 year goals mirror our current goals - EXACTLY!  Is it a surprise that the goals for "Providing a Safe and Secure Environment for Learning" and "Responsible Financial Stewardship" were also lifted, VERBATIM from the "Maximizing Quality and Value" wording used in the Miller Place Union Free School District's goals?

We have a few questions:
1. Why was Dr. Carlisle allowed to present the district goals to our community for the first time after being in the  district for a full year? (Posting online is like the United States Postal Service. The outside postage machine stamp will be accurate. Regardless of the (1/19/2011) date indicated on the PowerPoint, it is a simple thing to ascertain the actual date that the goals and objectives were really posted. We have documented inquiries requesting them.
2. Why do the goals of the district lack the specificity required of his predecessors and current building administrators? Pay close attention to the one that says he intends to promote up from within. Gee.

3. Why was it acceptable to state that board members "had a long day at work" as an excusable reason not to fulfill his responsibility to the community. We were not privy to the email that he sent out to Board Members containing the goals? Besides, they were supposed to create them together.
4. Why is it that no one on the current board CAUGHT A BLATANT PLAGIARISM OF IDEAS that are so central to the operation, educational health and Vision of our district? Why have they allowed this to happen?
5. Why is it that the goals were placed on the district website inaccurately stating that:
"These goals were presented to the Board of Education at a public meeting in January 2011”...Dr. Carlisle could not get through the first slide without the assistance of the PowerPoint that contained what was supposed to be the goals that he created in January of 2011

Goal 3. A. Develop proactive hiring and staff retention strategies, with a special focus on nurturing leadership "up from within."  
            B. Identify and address priority renovation...(Now does that sound familiar?)
We have referenced the Governance Section of the QSAC.  F. Annual Evaluative Process. F1, F2, F3,F4, F5, F6, F7, F8, F4. The School board's annual evaluation of the CSA is based on the adoption of goals and performance measurement that reflect that highest priority is given to student achievement and attention to subgroup achievement.

Are our Laws guidelines that districts may choose not to follow whenever they like? Is this what is meant by giving districts more leeway towards being creative? Is this the reason NJ is requested a NCLB wavier? This Candidate for Superintendent has spent a full year making sure that he gets his money. He moved his office to the high school. He refers to the high school campus as 2 schools that need attention. So we have "the Cinderella Stepchild School" and the CTE one that the district promotes to outside towns as a School Choice. We have enough problems with division already. We have an apartheid system already. We don’t need more of that. The classroom next door to his office shares the same light switch as his office. The students are unable to view a movie without lights, because the lights in his office will go dark if they darken the classroom. His move to the high school is an impediment to learning. 

The Board of Education makes light of the QSAC in board meetings in front of us. Go to the videotape. http://youtu.be/NeaJ-xmwWtY  Are our Laws more like parley, and are guidelines for Englewood only?

We know how a student's academic life is altered once plagiarism has been proven. What happens to a Superintendent under the same circumstances? We deserve better. The "ugly truth" about this is that all of this information was ascertained without rigorous investigative research. We simply googled it. Is “practice what you preach” a dead concept in New Jersey Education?

We, the Citizens 4 Public Education believe that it is fair to openly question why our board is willing to publicly defy our Governor for an uncertified Superintendent who does not respect the children of Englewood enough to at least try to "MATCH" up our goals to districts with like challenges.
We, the Citizens 4 Public Education believe that it is also fair to openly question why the New Jersey State Department of Education is allowing a board of education that is 'persistently flouting the Laws of the State of New Jersey' to go on with business as usual.
We, the Citizens 4 Public Education openly question why the State Department of Education is NOT enforcing the Laws in Englewood, NJ? Do our children deserve any less than other towns?


Lucy Walker 
of Citizens 4 Public Education

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